Coin circulation has emerged as a new disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have referred to this as a shortage; however, it is not. There is approximately $48 billion in coin already in circulation, most of which is sitting dormant inside America’s 128 million households. As people have changed their spending habits, and coin-intensive businesses and financial institution lobbies have been less accessible, the nation’s coin is pooling in change jars, in car cup holders and in shuttered businesses, making it difficult for the businesses of this country to get the coin that they need to support cash transactions.
To address the circulation problem, the United States Mint and Federal Reserve established a U.S. Coin Task Force in July 2020 that includes representatives of critical parts of the coin supply chain.
"The weak circulation affects most everyone, but the hardest hit are small cash-dependent businesses and those who are least well off,” says Hannah Walker, a Task Force member and Vice President with FMI – The Food Industry Association. “For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment."
If just a fraction of the coin sitting dormant in households is redeemed, this problem can be solved.
What You Can do to Help
While the U.S. Coin Task Force is completing their work, the Task Force urges the American public to:
- Start spending your coin
- Deposit coin at your financial institutions
- Redeem coin at coin kiosks
- Use the hashtag #GetCoinMoving in your social media posts to promote awareness and understanding of this issue
As important as it is to #GetCoinMoving, consumer safety is paramount, and the Task Force encourages you to follow CDC recommendations regarding personal safety when visiting retailers, small businesses, banks, grocery stores and credit unions.
Want to learn more?
Check out these additional articles on the coin shortage and Coin Task Force: