By: Hannah Walker, VP, Political Affairs, FMI

Coin jarThese past few weeks have seen growing press coverage of a national “coin shortage” and the challenges it is creating for businesses.  

Our members have shared that the lack of coin availability is having a real impact on their operations. Some are having to implement new and innovative ideas to either drive more coins into the store or mitigate the impact of the lack of coinage. 

In response, FMI joined the Federal Reserve’s Coin Task Force to work collaboratively with other stakeholders to identify why we have a coin problem and how we can fix it.

Here are some important takeaways:
  1. We are experiencing a coin circulation problem, not a coin “shortage.”  There are billions of dollars of coins in consumer’s homes and shuttered businesses sitting idle and not circulating.
  2. Most coins we use are what we call “recirculated” versus newly minted.
  3. While the U.S. Mint is producing coin at its maximum capacity, it cannot meet the current demand.
  4. Millions of Americans have no choice but to pay only in cash. They are the most impacted by the current coin circulation disruptions.
  5. It is up to the U.S. public to #getcoinmoving and help mitigate this challenge. 

The U.S. Coin Task Force released a public statement calling on the American public to help #getcoinmoving. 

The pandemic has proven that every penny really does count. If you have a jar on your shelf collecting coins and dust, leave the dust at home and go spend, deposit or redeem your coins. Thankfully, the message is getting out there. There was an amazing article that a man in Wisconsin heeded the call and redeemed over $5,000 in coins. While his action is extraordinary, and newsworthy, it should not deter anyone from helping #getcoinmoving. 

The current coin circulation problem is exactly that, a problem, and we can solve it… one penny at a time.