Another Aussie “Oddity”5 March 2013
For those of you outside Australia, another Australian custom of which you may not be aware – and which is a bit confusing if you’re a visitor to the country.
Australia has no coin smaller than 5c – the 2c and 1c coins were phased out some time in the 1990s. This means that, when paying by CASH, the total bill is rounded up or down.
For example, if you buy three items for 97c, 98c and 99c, ie a total of $2.94, you will pay $2.95. If your three items are 96c, 97c and 98c, ie a total of $2.91, you will pay $2.90. And if they are 97c, 98c and 99c, ie a total of $2.95, you will pay that exact amount.
The rounding rules only apply to the total bill – NOT individual items (so if you’re buying only one item at 99c you will be asked for $1, but one item priced at 96c will actually cost you 95c), and only apply to cash payments. If you’re paying by any other means (electronic funds transfer, credit card etc), the exact amount will be charged.
The rule is that 1c and 2c balances go down to the 10c below, 3c and 4c up to 5c, 6c and 7c down to 5c, and 8c and 9c up to 0 (ie the next 10c).
And since 1988, Australia has used polymer bank notes, not paper ones. They invented the technology and now make notes for a number of other countries around the world.
Well, you did ask about Australian customs!
And a note to Judith, who enquired about changing the clocks. This year we change them (in Sydney) on 7th April. I believe in the UK, that takes place on 31st March (but in the opposite direction). Some parts of Australia don’t change their clocks at all.