National coin shortage could impact consumers at stores

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 19:25:59-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - You may be asked to give exact change next time you go to the store.

The Federal Reserve has reported that the country is in the middle of a coin shortage.

Taylor’s Do It Centers in Hampton Roads have signs posted at the check out counter encouraging people to pay with credit or debit card or to pay with exact change.

They said the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation of pennies, nickels, quarters and dimes.

The Federal Reserve issued a statement that read in part:

“While there is adequate coin in the economy, the slowed pace of circulation has meant that sufficient quantities of coin are not readily available where needed. With establishments like retail shops, bank branches, transit authorities and laundromats closed, the typical places where coin enters our society have slowed or even stopped the normal circulation of coin. The coin supply chain includes many participants, from the U.S. Mint who produces new coin, to the Federal Reserve who distributes coin on the U.S. Mint’s behalf, to armored carriers, banks, retailers and consumers, all of whom have a role to play in helping to resolve this issue.”

They also say contributing to the problem is reduction in operations at the US Mint for coin production, due to efforts to keep their employees safe.

The Federal Reserve also said as of April, the U.S. Treasury estimates that the total value of coin in circulation is $47.8 billion, up from $47.4 billion as of April 2019.

A U.S. Coin Task Force has been established, according to the Federal Reserve.

“In early July, the Federal Reserve will convene a group of industry leaders for a limited-scope, limited duration task force, the U.S. Coin Task Force, to work together to identify, implement, and promote actions to reduce the consequence and duration of COVID-19 related disruptions to normal coin circulation."

Task force members will represent all major participants in the coin supply chain, including representatives from the following groups:

  • Unites States Mint
  • Federal Reserve
  • Armored Carriers
  • American Bankers Association
  • Independent Community Bankers Association
  • National Association of Federal Credit Unions
  • Coin Aggregator representatives
  • Retail Trade Industry

They said this is their plan moving forward.

“The U.S. Coin Task Force will convene in early July with the goal of completing a first set of recommendations by the end of July. At the end of this first phase, the group will share its progress and evaluate the benefits of continuing the task force. In addition, coin industry partners can encourage the use of social media to promote the circulation of coin using the hashtag #getcoinmoving," the Federal Reserve says. "The coin circulation issue is national in scale. While the task force will be focused on identifying actionable steps that supply chain partners can take to address the issue, it is clear that it will take all of our collective efforts to get coin moving again.”