Coin Shortage: What You Should Know

Coin Shortage: What You Should Know

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Over the past several months, the Coronavirus crisis has flipped the world as we once knew it, upside down. The pandemic has been responsible for causing food shortages, toilet paper shortages, business bankruptcies, putting people out of work, bringing about the worst stock market plunge in several decades, not to mention, taking countless lives. Coin shortage: what you should know. 

Coin Shortage: What You Should Know

Very recently, another problem has begun to take place, and you may have already noticed it. There’s a coin shortage that’s happening nationwide due to the reduced minting of the coins and also reduced circulation and spending that has been going on. Fewer coins are reaching the public. Quarters, dimes, nickels, even pennies are harder to come by.  

This is due to businesses remaining closed, and the U.S Mint is currently producing less and less coins because of the social distancing practices that allow for fewer employees. Another reason is that businesses were trying to reduce the spread of the virus by limiting cash flow. Here’s more about our nation’s coin shortage and what you should know about it.

Why is There a Coin Shortage?

Coin Shortage: What You Should Know

There is currently a coin shortage because fewer coins are in circulation, which is attributed to the lack of spending that has taken place over the past several months. As a result of so many businesses that were closed, and remained closed due to COVID-19, it has brought the flow of coins through our economy to an almost screeching halt.

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Those businesses that you often visit and spend your coins, like laundromats and carwash, have been closed, which also stopped circulation significantly.   

While the U.S Mint production of coins has slowed down dramatically due to employees staying home, businesses are beginning to open back up, which has created another problem. These local businesses are withdrawing coins from credit unions and banks at an incredibly fast pace, quickly reducing the Federal Reserve’s coin levels well below a comfortable and normal level. 

Banks have only been able to give businesses a fraction of the change that is normally needed in order to meet the demand of their customers. 

Who is Affected the Most by a Coin Shortage?

A coin shortage affects just about everyone, one way or another. You may have stopped by at a local business where they encouraged you to use exact change, or simply use your debit/credit card. Most of them are not giving out an explanation for their shortage since they don’t want to create a cash panic. 

Small businesses, such as laundromats, gas stations, and retail stores, have taken the biggest hit as of late. Their customers are not able to provide them with business since no one can seem to have two quarters they can rub together. Coin-sorting kiosks were also limited due to the risk of customers contracting covid-19. 

There are several businesses that have struggled with the coin shortage and are having to round up to the next dollar in order to provide their customers with change. This is extremely painful for them, as they don’t have a dime to spare in order to remain profitable.   

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What is Being Done to Fix the Problem?

The Federal Reserve and the U.S Mint have addressed the public that our current coin shortage is just a temporary problem that will soon be corrected. They are both combatting the shortage by getting as many coins out in circulation nationwide as quickly as possible. They have had to establish a U.S Coin Task Force to implement this as soon as possible.

Coin companies like Coinstar have been making more frequent coin pick-ups to help get coins back into circulation faster as well. 

Final Word

Now that businesses have slowly begun to open back up, people are beginning to spend their money again. This will eventually help put this coin shortage behind us, but you can still do your part in the meantime. In case you missed my post Why Living With Less Might Be The Best

No, I’m not suggesting that you need to go out and make a number of large purchases to get the economy rolling again, but you can take your pocket change that’s been sitting around and exchange them for bills. Those of you who’ve been waiting to empty that piggy bank, now is the time! When it’s possible, paying electronically for a brief period of time will also help your local businesses. 

What do you think about the Coin Shortage: What you need to Know? Stay safe, stay well. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Coins Deposit photos_2318062_xl-2015, Coins Stacked Deposit photos_161657762_s-2019


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  1. I have run into the issue of having to use my debit card for purchases of late. Many of the places that I frequent are not taking cash – paper or coin – at all. I am sure this will change if/when we open up more businesses and COVID-19 is under control. But, as long as we still have climbing numbers of cases, we will have shortages of one type or another.

    I have, in the past, been in the habit of taking my change (coins) and putting that change in a jar and saving it. I generally cash it in just before the holidays each year and use it for gift giving. I won’t have as much saved this year, however, because of the pandemic. Well, it is what it is!

    I don’t really think we have a shortage of coinage, though. We just have a shortage of circulation. It is like the penny shortages of years past where people simply were not spending their pennies. I have a couple of friends who have several gallon jars full of nothing but pennies! This might also be the time when we become a cashless society; where everyone must use debit or credit to make purchases.

    1. Hi Leanne, you are right. If the coin is not in circulation then it becomes a shortage. It’s a vicious circle, on TV the anchor people asked for us to turn in our coins to the banks. Here again, it’s not in circulation. I do remember the penny shortage. I had forgotten about that. Stay safe, Linda

  2. Like Leanne, I’ve been saving spare change in jars and cans–though I’ve done this for years. So maybe it’s time for me to cash those coins i for bills and solve the coin shortage at the same time. 🙂

    On a more serious note, this could be part of a dry run to convert us to a cashless society. Cashless makes us easier to control and is therefore dangerous from a loss of liberty perspective.

    1. Hi Ray, I would cash them in and get the bills when you can. I believe we will go to a cashless society. Years ago, who would have guessed you didn’t need a “ledger” at the bank. I worked at a bank when they had “ledgers”. Yep, I’m an oldie, but I’m happy! Linda

      1. Oh, man. I am NOT looking forward to lugging them all to a Coinmaster machine. My bank wouldn’t take them unless they were sorted and put in rolls, which is simply too much work. Of course with the shorage maybe they’ve changed their policy.

        1. Hi Ray, oh and Coinmaster takes a percentage, right? Hmmm, that’s a big decision to make for sure. Just take a bag a week. Call the bank, they may have changed their minds. Be careful hauling them, Linda

          1. Yeah, if I tried to pick them all up at once my wife would have to call HerniasRUs. All kidding aside, this is a very safe town, I think because a large number of citizens go armed–self included–so I’m not concerned about thieves. It is quite common to see people with pistols strapped to their waists in grocery stores and restaurants. I like it, not only because it deters crime but because i like seeing free people exercising their 2d Amendment rights.

            Our local, and for the most part, State politicians are also strong supporters of those rights.

          2. Hi Ray, oh my gosh, I had so many negative comments today, I needed this one!! HerniaRUs!! Now, I have the giggles, thank you, thank you!!! Linda

          3. Linda, would you like me to send you the email of that local realtor who specializes in properties that have wells? I contacted her and told her a friend of mine might be interested in this area and she said she had several properties in the “around $200,000” price range not far from town.

            Doesn’t hurt to look.

          4. Hi Ray, I will keep decluttering and decluttering more and then I will email you for a good realtor. My concern right now is some of my married kids are out of work because of this COVID mess. I need at least a year and then maybe we will be neighbors! I will keep you posted, my friend! Thank you so much! Linda

          5. Remember the bacon/pig shortage. The egg shortage and the chicken shortage? Wasn’t there a vaccine shortage in there somewhere? It’s good to be informed but don’t be scared, Jesus makes it on 10%. Peace come from Christ ask yourself do I have peace when I read/listen to the constant updates of news? Something to think about. God bless you and yours .

          6. Hi Joyce, there have always been shortages here and there, you are so right. The gas shortage back in the ’70s and I remember a sugar shortage. Great comment, Linda

        2. Linda, I am so greatfull for your website and the information you put out for everyone. It can only help in this time of stress and need. Please stay safe and well. Looking forward to more of your needed information. May God Bless you 7 x 7. Susan

          1. Hi Susan, your words mean so much to mean! Thank you for your kindness. I work really hard to inform people and not scare them. Let’s both stay safe and well, my friend. Thanks again, Linda

      2. Hi Linda, funny you should mention “ledgers” at a bank. Coming from NY, I did a lot of my banking online using a Texas Instruments TI-99 computer. This only worked with Chase bank. When I had to go into a branch, the tellers had terminals to look up information. When we moved to Utah in ’87, I was shocked that tellers at Zions Bank were still using “ledgers” and did not have terminals! I felt we went back to the stone age.

    2. Cashless society, or paper fractional currency that devalues even faster. The coins have a greater value now than their face value, clad or silver coins. Quarters cost $.32 to make for a face value of $.25 cents. Pennies are zinc with a copper like alloy to make them look like copper pennies and cost 2.2 cents to make. Save your change, it may take a real dime to buy a loaf of bread very soon, especially if the stock market crashes and paper money is useless “toilet paper”.

      1. Hi Longshorts, this may be why there is a shortage of coins. Great comment, let’s hope people learn to make bread and grow a garden. Life can change on a “dime”, for sure. Stay safe, Linda

        1. Today’s history books leave out the times our grandparents and parents went through in the past. As I commented in another post, the ups and downs our Country went through often repeat themselves, yet today’s younger families do not know because they were never taught these things in School. We have faced social unrest many times, and commodities shortages, too. These things are not new to American life. Would today’s families survive the Dust Bowl times, the Great Depression, or the Great Silver Shortages that destroyed families and farms nationwide? I do not know because people of today aren’t as tough as their ancestors were. Americans really have led very soft lives since the early 50’s, or when the the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 to 1919 raged through the world. Now, besides the COVID-19 virus is here, there are cases of bubonic plague (the “Black Death” that killed 1/2 of Europe in 1349) have surfaced in China once again. This shows that humans were not mean’t to live so very crowded together because the crowding causes pandemics to spread very rapidly through the population. “Coin Shortages” may possibly be a good thing as coins are handled so casually, never sterilized, never even cleaned of skin deposits – they can become a terrible disease vector. Same goes for paper money or plastic debit or credit cards. Everybody handles them and none sterilize them. What to do?
          Best Regards,

          1. Hi Longshorts, coins are filthy and so is paper money. And the plastic cards and the machines we have to use to put in our “pin” numbers. Wow, I was just talking to one of my daughters if nothing else this pandemic has made people aware of washing their hands. AND how dirty the “little” things really are. Stay safe, stay well, Linda

  3. Have you, by any chance, found pennies in the bottom of your washer? They are so cheaply made now that the copper coating and engraving completely is washed away in one wash load! I have taken them to the bank and showed them that they are (WERE) real pennies to make sure I was given credit for them when I put them into paper rolls. We are “chronic” coin savers and turn them into the bank when we get a decent amount to roll up.

  4. I agree with Leanne and Ray in the above comments. I believe there is more to this than just a coin shortage. Circulation has probably some truth to it. I believe as I had thought when this whole virus showed up on the scene that this will happen as they say how dirty coins and bills are and will transmit the virus even more so. I look at it as also an excuse to make people use their debit/credit cards and that way they can track every darn thing we purchase, how often, where, etc. They want a one world cashless society. The timing is right on. That’s the bottom line and we are obviously seeing other things through this and the years that has led up to this. We will find if we don’t pay the way they want you to, you will not be able to buy. Very controlling isn’t it?

    1. Hi Lisa, I totally agree. Yes, I think the coins, bills, and even debit and credit cards are dirty. This whole virus has made us even more aware of how dirty everything is. I’m writing a post on tracking/tracing, stay tuned. We are not blind, someone is keeping track of what we spend, where we eat, shop, buy, the list goes on and on. Life is sure different than our ancestors. Linda

  5. The coin shortage doesn’t add up. Coins already in circulation are durable and usually are in circulation for like 30 years or so. So it’s not just what they make this year with social distancing, but there are 30 plus years of coins out there. We have to live in the system we have. It’s all fiat money. The real physical value of the paper and even today’s coins is shocking. But without the gov’t determining value, a 100 dollar bill would be worth less than the nickle clad quarter in your pocket.

  6. They are saying a lot of the coin shortage is due to restaurants and bars being closed or having limited seating. A lot of coins flow through that part of the economy.
    It is interesting that businesses are choosing to opt for cards rather than cash in some cases. I guess people haven’t heard of gloves.
    Linda, thank you for being a light. Remember many people are negative. Don’t let them get you down. They aren’t happy. You are!
    Take care, be safe and we will get through this!

    1. Hi Teddy, I LOVE reading your comment first thing this morning! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, they mean so much to me. This COVID and people out of work have hit a lot of people really hard. I have several family members out of work and it’s tough. And heartbreaking. Some days I just have to turn off the TV (except for Netflix movies, LOL). I feel bad for the stress that everyone worldwide is going through. The only people right now that have secure jobs are government workers in most cases. The rest of the world is suffering, with loss of income, and the stress on families not knowing what the future will be. I sure hope life improves for all those who are unemployed and hanging by a thread, literally. May God bless those families!! Stay safe, my friend, Linda

  7. Dear Linda,
    I also see this issue as part of the move to go cash-less….however, I believe it is more ominous than before mentioned. Cards “make life easier” but the next step is a chip in the hand as already used in at least one American company. Eventually, no chip = no purchase.
    There goes our agency.
    Anyone have ideas to stop that movement?
    Shirley in Oregon

    1. Hi Shirley, yikes, I had to Google that one! One is Three Square Market, one article says 50 employees volunteered then another 100 employees. They did that so they can log onto their computers, open doors, and purchase snacks. WOW WOW WOW! I have heard of the “cash-less idea”. I have to tell you something funny to me anyway looking back. It must have been 45-50 years ago, give or take. My husband worked at a bank and the first ATM was announced. The bank had some Utah celebrities come to the ribbon cutting, etc. We handed out ice creams cones if they would come to the bank if they brought the debit cards they received in the mail and learn how to use this new-fangled machine. Boy, has life changed. What’s next, hold on for the ride. Linda

  8. Hi,
    I use cash only to pay my bills. I despise plastic cards because they can be compromised so easily online, at grocery stores, at gas pumps, etc. Everything I own is paid for and when I have to deal with the government, I use money orders. In my small town, cash is still KING. Shortly, coins will be more expensive to make than paper fractional currency, so I save my change for the metal value that they will have someday soon. Who knows, maybe a real dime will buy a loaf of bread once again? Since 1934, money has been worth what people think it is worth, and it has devalued about 5% every year since then. My Grandfather called the smaller bills printed then “funny money” as seed and feed went up in cost every year – and today the devaluation is even worse. Those that buy gold and silver investments whether on paper or in specie to save their value are fools. If the stock market crashes, you cannot eat paper or metals. Food and other consumables will be the cash for a barter economy that will result. Do any of you remember the “victory gardens” of both world wars? We have one and can everything we do not use immediately. We have fried green tomatoes in February, canning them is simpler that you would think. Self reliance will be the future, so if you plan a garden, get the non-GMO or non hybrid seeds that, if you save the seeds, they will germinate every year. If you have the room, plant fruit trees or look for them in the forest if one is close by. The forest could be your own private grocery and medicinal plant source if you learn what to look for. If the bees aren’t present, plan on pollinating by hand with a fine camel hair brush. Convince a beekeeper to leave a hive within 1/2 mile of your home, but be careful they aren’t the “Africanized” variety. Someone used to the European variety could be severely injured by those little monsters. Just some thoughts for you to ponder over in a cashless future.

    1. Hi Longshorts, I LOVE your comment! I had to Google “Victory Garden”. WOW! I have had a garden my entire life and produced, canned, and dehydrated everything I could get my hands on. I have never heard that term, but it’s how I have lived so maybe my parents just taught me without saying the term. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My readers need to know about these Victory Gardens!! Linda

      1. Hi Linda,
        “Victory Gardens” were established to ease food shortages present in both World Wars where ration coupons were established to regulate how much foodstuffs, gasoline, clothing, shoes, tires, and most other items more necessary to the War efforts. There are many recipes that made up for the absence or coupon regulations made things scarce. Sort of like today when you go to the store and see empty shelves where the stuff you wanted once was. I wasn’t around then, but I remember my Parents and Grand Parents talking about it and the Great Depression a lot in the 50’s and 60’s. Everybody that had a patch of space in their backyards had one to grow veggies that were hard to get or not available at all at any price. Anything that was made from rubber was impossible to get, and used clothing was bought at better than retail prices. Shoes and suitcases were made from pasteboard. War material was even mined from city dumps. In England and the U.S., there were “meatless, sweetless, flourless days of the week. People sacrificed so much so the fighters against Germany and Japan would not go without (although Japan was a weak ally during WWI). I wish today’s history books still contained what people suffered through during the wars. Our kids need to know about these things as history tends to repeat itself. For Millenials, they do not know these things their ancestors went through and complain bitterly when what they want simply isn’t there.
        Best Regards!

        1. Hi Longshorts, wow, what a great comment! I have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment. I totally agree that people need to know how much our ancestors suffered and compare it to today. AND that history does indeed repeat itself. Best comment ever! Thanks again for the reminder. Linda

  9. So why not have some public service announcements on TV asking people to use coins. It’s not rocket science, but then again when it comes to the government, not even Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy with their tricorders have been able to find any intelligent life among them.

    Many say we may find a cure for Covid-19, but there is no cure for stupidity. 🙂

    1. Hi Frank, my concern for the COVID cure is if we have to have proof we had the vaccination in order to enter a store or a restaurant, etc. I’m not saying I’m for or against vaccinations but it sure looks like things may be leaning that way. There are no words right now. It’s so frustrating and stressful for people right now. I never thought I would bring babies into this world, but I did 50 years ago. Things were different back then. God help us. Linda

  10. Some businesses here only accept credit/debit cards now, no cash. I question if it is even legal to refuse legal tender (no, I am not an attorney). I have dug out the change & singles I save & started carrying them. If I want to make a purchase w/ correct change in cash & am refused, I sure would be making a scene about it. I would hope they would call the police so they can explain to me exactly where in the law it says my ‘legal tender’ is no longer acceptable!

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