Businesses, customers see shortage of coins
By Joey Bowling, Intern
A coin shortage has affected local branches of national chains, while many local businesses remain untouched.
Under normal conditions, retail transactions and coin recyclers provide a steady amount of coins to circulate. However, due to less spending and an avoidance of using physical money to lessen the spread of the coronavirus, circulation has dropped dramatically, according to a press release from the United States Mint.
There isn’t a physical shortage of coins by number, according to the press release. Instead, the slow circulation pace has created pockets of demand higher than supply currently circulating.
As demand for coins skyrockets, the Mint produces more but can’t keep up. In 2019, third-party coin processors and retail activity contributed 83% to the supply chain. Financial concerns and people hoarding coins contributes to the shortage.
The Mint has been operating at full capacity since mid-June, according to the Indiana Bankers Association. It’s on track to produce 1.5 billion coins per month for the rest of 2020. In 2019, it produced about 1 billion coins per month.
Bill Harrod, president of First Harrison Bank, recommends recirculating change when possible. That means paying with exact change or donating the change. Going to a coin-exchange kiosk also helps introduce coins back into circulation.
Locally, some national chains, such as Kroger, which owns JayC Food Stores, are feeling the pressure. Kroger has instituted policies against paying with inexact change. Kroger gives cash-paying customers two options: load the spare change onto their loyalty card or donate it to the Kroger Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation.