The questions and answers given below apply from 1st December 2019.

Since 1st October 2014, you have been able to round the total amount payable by the consumer on a voluntary basis.

From 1st December 2019, the situation is changing; you must now round the total amount of the sales receipt that the customer pays in cash (coins and notes).

This obligation only applies to payments made when the customer is physically present. Distance sales (over the internet, for example) are not affected.

You can also opt to round for all types of payment methods. In this case, you must inform your customers of this by visibly displaying the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 492.02 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment.

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.

Yes.

As soon as an association regularly carries out an economic activity, it is considered as a company and must comply with the rules on rounding the cash payments that it collects as part of these activities.

Whether or not an association is not-for-profit is irrelevant in this instance.

Yes, as long as the cash payments that they collect relate to 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 not therefore “economic” in nature.

Yes. 

Pharmacists must round cash payments in line with the same procedures as any other company. There is no distinction between the products that they sell, it affects all of them.

You must round the total amount of purchases for which the consumer pays in cash (coins and notes).

If you have chosen to round for other payment methods too, the total amount payable must be rounded.

So, you do not round the price of each item taken separately.

Rounding only applies to payments made when the customer is physically present. Distance sales (over the internet, for example) are therefore not affected.

No.

The legal obligation to round only applies to payments made in cash (notes and coins). Debit or credit card payments are not cash payments.

However, you can decide to round for payment methods other than cash. In this case, you must apply it to all the payment methods that you accept and for all payments made by your individual customers when these are physically in your business. In this case, you must inform your customers of this by visibly displaying the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 492.02 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment.

A total amount payable in cash which ends in x.x1 euro or x.x2 euros is rounded down to x.x0 euro. Example: 12.92 euros becomes 12.90 euros.

A total amount payable in cash which ends in x.x3 euros or x.x4 euros is rounded up to x.x5 euro. Example: 12.93 euros becomes 12.95 euros.

A total amount payable in cash which ends in x.x6 euros or x.x7 euros is rounded down to x.x5 euro. Example: 12.97 euros becomes 12.95 euros.

A total amount payable in cash which ends in x.x8 euros or x.x9 euros is rounded up to x.(x+1)0 euro. Example: 12.98 euros becomes 13.00 euros.

Amount paid in cash ends in

Rounding

x.x1

x.x0

x.x2

x.x0

x.x3

x.x5

x.x4

x.x5

x.x5

x.x5

x.x6

x.x5

x.x7

x.x5

x.x8

x.(x+1)0

x.x9

x.(x+1)0

Only coins and notes are considered as cash.

Amounts paid using meal vouchers, eco-vouchers or gift vouchers cannot be rounded.

No.

Since rounding is mandatory for all cash payments, it is not necessary to inform your individual customers of this beforehand.

However, we advise you to do so verbally in the early days or weeks after this new measure comes into force.

On the other hand, if you opt for the extended practice of rounding payment methods other than cash, you must inform your customers of this by visibly displaying the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 492.02 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment.

No.

This is a mandatory measure for all cash payments made when the consumer is physically present. Distance sales (over the internet, for example) are therefore not affected.

No.

A consumer cannot ask for the amounts paid in cash not to be rounded. If you do not round for other payment methods, in most cases, the consumer can always use another payment method.

Similarly, if you have decided to round for payment methods other than cash, your customer must respect your decision. However, you must visibly display the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 492.02 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment.

We recommend that you display this near the checkout.

No.

In this case, all you need to do is inform your customers of this by visibly displaying the text The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 492.02 KB), at least in the official language of your region, in your establishment.

You do not have to inform anyone else that you are rounding for payment methods other than cash.

Yes.

You are entitled to stop rounding for payment methods other than cash.

Simply stop displaying the message The total amount is always rounded” (PDF, 492.02 KB) which has informed your customers that you are rounding for all payment methods.

Attention: your checkout system may have to be adapted to comply with the provisions in terms of stating the amounts payable on the sales receipt.

Rounding is mandatory for all consumers paying in cash (notes and coins). If a customer refuses to pay the rounded amount, the sale cannot take place and you must not provide the required product or service.

One and two cent coins will continue to be legal tender. The decision to withdraw coins from circulation is made at a European level.

No such decision has currently been made. The new rules in force from 1st December 2019 will not change this.

No.

You cannot stop a customer from paying you using 1 and 2 cent coins.

However, you do not have to accept more than 50 coins in a single payment.

No.

You can never charge additional fees for cash payments.

Yes, you can give 1 and 2 cent coins as change.

Your customer cannot refuse them.

No.

Mandatory rounding does not apply to transactions between companies (B2B).

Mandatory rounding only applies to sales to the end consumer (B2C), when the consumer is physically present during the payment.

No.

Rounding is only permitted for payments when the consumer is physically present in your establishment. Consequently, rounding is not permitted for distance sales, particularly for e-commerce.

Yes, but only if you have opted to round for all payment methods.

Yes.

Even if at the moment of purchase the amount paid was not subject to rounding, you will have to round the amount refunded in cash to the nearest 0 or 5 cents.

If you only round for cash payments

  1. Start by asking your customer how much they wish to pay in meal vouchers, eco-vouchers or gift vouchers with a predetermined amount and deduct them (without rounding);
  2. Then ask how much they wish to pay in cash and round this amount in accordance with the rounding rules and deduct it;
  3. Where necessary, the balance can be paid exactly (without rounding) by card.

For example: the total amount of items purchased by your customer comes to 70.04 euros.

  • Your customer pays the permitted amount in meal vouchers, for example 20.03 euros (no rounding);
  • Your customer pays the balance or another part in cash: this amount must be rounded. For example, 50 euros (50.01 rounded to 50 euros) if they choose to pay the balance or 15.20 euros, if they choose to only pay part in cash;
  • If there is a balance to pay by card after the cash payment, your customer can pay the exact amount remaining payable by card, in our example, 34.81 euros (70.04 euros - 20.03 euros - 15.20 euros).

If you have opted to round for all payment methods

  • Your customer pays the permitted amount in meal vouchers without rounding because it is a predetermined amount;
  • Round the amount that is still payable;
  • If your customer wants to pay part in cash, round this amount and deduct it;
  • Finally, if there is still a balance to pay, the customer will pay it by card. This amount will inevitably be a rounded amount.

For example: the total amount of items purchased comes to 70.04 euros.

  • Your customer pays the permitted part in meal vouchers: 20.03 euros;
  • The balance of 50.01 euros is rounded to 50 euros and can be paid either in cash or by card, or partially in cash for a rounded amount, for example 15.20 euros and the balance by card will inevitably be a rounded amount of 34.80.

On each document that contains the total amount to be paid, the rounded amount must also be indicated.

Consequently, the situation is different whether you round just cash payments or all payment methods.

If you only round cash payments

The sales receipt must contain the following elements:

  1. the total amount payable before rounding, and  
  2. the total rounded amount actually paid in cash.

If you have opted to round for all payment methods

The sales receipt must contain:

  1. the total amount payable before rounding;
  2. the total rounded amount, with fixed value meal vouchers or gift vouchers deducted.

Only you can decide whether one system is simpler or more complex than the other.

However, you should be aware that in both cases, there is a risk that your checkout system may need to be adapted to satisfy the obligations relating to the information shown on the sales receipts.

Furthermore, if after deciding to round just cash payments, you subsequently change your mind, you will probably have to change your checkout system a second time, with any costs that may arise from this.

No.

Only cash payments relating to sales from a company (or similar) to a consumer (individual customer) are subject to the regulations on rounding.

Amounts of foreign currency converted into euros are not considered to be payments within the meaning of the law, but as the equivalent in euros of the amount in foreign currency. Therefore they do not need to be rounded.

When a bank or a stockbroker buys foreign currency, they offer a service to the consumer. They must apply the exchange rate announced, otherwise it would be a misleading practice.

However, if a commission is added as a fee for the exchange service, then that commission must be rounded off, because it is a payment by the consumer for the service provided.

Only cash payments relating to sales from a company (or similar) to a consumer (individual customer) are subject to the regulations on rounding.

One and two cent coins are very expensive to manufacture (raw material, minting, transport, etc.) and are very rarely used. Indeed, they are often left in purses or hoarded at home, which is why 1 and 2 cent coins constantly need to be minted.

The 2014 measure introducing the option to round sales receipts on a voluntary basis reduced the use of these 1 and 2 cent coins. However, it has not led to the desired result since the number of companies who round is still limited.

According to a study conducted in early 2018, only 3 out of 10 shopkeepers currently round. Similarly, it appears that 8 out of 10 retailers and 7 out of 10 consumers would be in favour of rounding. The main trade organisations are also asking for mandatory rounding for cash payments.

By making rounding mandatory for all cash payments, the Belgian government hopes to reduce the number of 1 and 2 cent coins in circulation in our country. And by doing so, it intends to satisfy the expectations of most businesses and consumers.

It should be noted that Belgium is not permitted to decide to end the use of these 1 and 2 cent coins; only the European legislator can do that.

Last update
4 September 2019