The Real Reason America Keeps Making the Penny While Other Countries Have Ditched It

December 9th 2016

Almie Rose

Be honest: How many times have you seen a penny on the street or dropped one on the sidewalk, shrugged, and kept walking?

And when was the last time you actually paid for something in pennies? You can't even put them in parking meters. So why are we still using them?

The answer may surprise you.

Other countries have ditched their pennies.

Canada stopped producing its "1 cent piece" in May 2012, and life carried on without issue.

If you pay with cash, and there's a 1 cent discrepancy, Canadians round down to the nearest 5 cents, according to the Royal Canadian Mint.

Canadian penny

New Zealand got rid of its 1 cent (penny) and 2 cents (3 pence) pieces in 1990. Switzerland ditched the 1 Rappen coin officially in 2006, but had basically stopped using it in the '80s.

In some ways, America already has ditched the penny.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Services at United States overseas bases don't bother with the penny, instead rounding to the nearest 5 cents.

"Pennies are so heavy and cost so much to ship that Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES), the Army and Air Force’s version of Wal-Mart on bases in America and abroad, [refuse] to use them overseas," according to Military Money Might, a site about personal finance for military personnel and their families.

If the penny is such a hassle, why do we still make them?

It actually costs more to make a penny than a penny is worth.

A single penny costs 2.4 cents to make, The Economist reported.

But the argument is that, if we get rid of the 1 cent coin, we would rely more heavily on our 5 cent coin, the nickel. And nickels cost 11.2 cents to make, more than twice what they're worth.

There's one other reason we keep making pennies.

ATTN: previously reported that the Washington-based Americans for Common Cents lobbies in favor of keeping the penny.

One of the group's major backers is Jarden Zinc Products. Can you guess what Jarden Zinc produces?

Yep. Pennies. Pennies are 97.5 percent zinc.

"We make no secret that one of our major sponsors is a company that makes the zinc 'blanks' for pennies," Mark Weller, the executive director of Americans for Common Cents, told The Washington Times.

Americans for Common Cents in 2006 recruited Kevin Federline, then husband of Britney Spears, to help the cause. He dressed up as Abraham Lincoln at an event in New York's Times Square. ABC News reported that Federline emerged from a red truck declaring, "Man, I feel good about the penny!"

Americans remain just as unenthusiastic about the relic. And also the penny.

You can watch ATTN:'s short video on why we should ditch the penny below.


There's literally no good reason for America to keep using the penny.

Posted by ATTN: Video on Tuesday, December 6, 2016