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    Fewer 1 and 2 cent coins in your pockets and purses

    Since 1st October 2014, companies have been able to round the total amount payable by their individual customers to the nearest 5 cents.

    While they have not been required to practice such rounding until now, the situation will change from 1st December 2019.

    From this date, rounding will be mandatory for all cash payments or, in the event of a mixed payment (cash + card for example), those partially paid in cash.

    Companies will be able to extend the practice of rounding to other payment methods. In this case, they will have to inform their individual customers of this by visibly displaying a specific text (PDF, 492.02 KB), at least in the official language of the region. They will then have to apply rounding to all their customers and all payment methods.

    The mandatory rounding of cash payments is designed to reduce the use of the small 1 and 2 cent coins which are expensive to produce and weigh down pockets and purses.

    Who must round?

    The new rounding obligations affect all companies in the sense of Book VI of the Code of Economic Law, i.e. any natural or legal person who pursues a sustainable economic goal.

    It is not just companies, in the usual sense of the word, that are required to round cash payments, but also the liberal professions and any individuals, associations, administrations, etc. that regularly engage in economic activities in relation to consumers.

    Thus, a municipality that manages a swimming pool, library or cultural centre for example, will be considered as a “company” for this type of activity. However, this will not be the case when it collects fees for issuing an identity card, since this activity is part of its public service mission and is therefore not “economic” in nature.

    Similarly, when associations regularly engage in an economic activity (selling products to consumers for example), they will be considered as a company. Whether or not an association is not-for-profit is irrelevant in this instance.

    Sales between individuals, just like those that take place between companies, are not affected by the mandatory rounding rules.

    The principle of rounding from 1st December 2019

    Companies will be required to round the total amount paid in cash by the consumer, subject to the following conditions:

    • the payment is made in the physical presence of both the consumer and the company, and  
    • the amount payable is more than 5 cents.

    Companies can also decide to round the other payment methods that they accept, under the same conditions.

    When rounding, the company must comply with the following rules:

    • if the company only rounds cash payments, only the amount actually paid in cash is rounded (even if the payment is made partly in cash and partly using another payment method);
    • if the company decides to round payment methods other than cash, the total amount payable is rounded (even if the payment is made partly in cash and partly using another payment method). In this case, it must clearly display the following legal text, at least in the official language of the region: The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 492.02 KB);
    • the sales receipt or supporting documentation indicates the total amount payable, and the rounded amount, whether that is the amount actually paid in cash or the actual total amount paid.

    Book VI Code of Economic Law – Art. VI.7/1 and VI.7/2 Code of Economic Law

    Rounding calculation

    The total amount payable in cash is rounded up or down to the nearest 0 or 5 cents, depending on the case.

    • If the total amount payable in cash ends in 1 or 2 cents, it is rounded down to x.x0 euro.
    • If the total amount payable in cash ends in 3, 4, 6 or 7 cents, it is rounded to x.x5 euro.
    • If the total amount payable in cash ends in 8 or 9 cents, it is rounded up to x.(x+1)0 euro.

    Amount payable in cash ends in

    Rounding

    Examples (in euros)

    x.x1

    x.x0

    12.91 becomes 12.90

    x.x2

    x.x0

    12.92 becomes 12.90

    x.x3

    x.x5

    12.93 becomes 12.95

    x.x4

    x.x5

    12.94 becomes 12.95

    x.x5

    x.x5

    12.95 stays 12.95

    x.x6

    x.x5

    12.96 becomes 12.95

    x.x7

    x.x5

    12.97 becomes 12.95

    x.x8

    x.(x+1)0

    12.98 becomes 13.00

    x.x9

    x.(x+1)0

    12.99 becomes 13.00

    Recognising a vendor who rounds for all payment types!

    All companies that choose to round for all payment methods must inform their customers of this by clearly displaying the following text, at least in the official language of the region: The total amount is always rounded.” (PDF, 492.02 KB)

    This text means that in addition to mandatory rounding for cash payments, they have chosen to round for ALL their customers and for ALL payment methods.

    What to do with 1 and 2 cents?

    One and two cent coins will continue to be legal tender. They will not be withdrawn from circulation, or lose their value.

    They can therefore still be used and there's no need to run to the bank to return them!

    Companies cannot refuse to take them as a means of payment, provided that they are used in a reasonable quantity (maximum 50 coins per payment).

    Similarly, the consumer cannot refuse them when the company gives them as change.

    Are you a company? This is the process to be followed in order to comply with the rules from 1st December 2019!

    From 1st December 2019, for all payments where the customer is physically present in your establishment (not online sales for example), you are required to round the total amount (not product by product) that your customer pays in cash. For other payment methods, you are free to decide whether or not to apply rounding.

    If you only round cash payments:

    1. Before each payment, ask your customer how much they wish to pay using a payment method with a fixed or taxable amount (for example, meal vouchers, eco-vouchers, gift vouchers, etc.).
    2. Once this amount is paid, apply the rounding principles to the balance of the initial amount payable, actually paid in cash.
    3. On the sales receipt or supporting documentation indicate the total amount before rounding and the rounded amount. 
    4. Any amount returned to the customer will always be rounded.

      If you decide to round other payments in addition to cash payments:
       
    5. Display the text The amount is always rounded” (PDF, 492.02 KB) (at least in the official language of your region) in your establishment where it is clearly visible to your customers and close to the cash desks.
    6. On the sales receipt or supporting documentation indicate the total amount payable for the purchases before rounding and the rounded amount. You may have to adapt your checkout system for this purpose.

    For more information, view the page containing the frequently asked questions on the new mandatory rounding rules for companies.

    Are you a consumer?

    For more information, view the page containing the frequently asked questions on the new mandatory rounding rules for consumers.

    Last update
    18 September 2019