South Korea is already at the forefront of digital payments as home to Samsung Pay, and this week the country will begin discouraging the use of coins in stores.

The Bank of Korea said that beginning Thursday, customers at some convenience and department stores may opt to receive change from cash transactions as funds loaded to a prepaid card or as mass-transit fare, according to reports.

The project aims to reduce the government’s cost of producing coins, which last year reached 53.7 billion won (US$50 million). South Korea’s smallest-value mintage is the 10 won coin, worth about 1 U.S. cent.

Retailers participating in the pilot include 7-Eleven, discount chains E-Mart and Lotte Mart and the Lotte Department Store.

South Korean won coins
South Korean won coins of various denominations are arranged for a photograph in Seoul, South Korea Bloomberg News

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