New U.S. Coin Task Force Report Highlights Causes, Impacts of
Coin Supply Chain Issues

Arlington, VA – As the nation enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing challenges to the nation’s coin circulation continue to negatively impact food retailers that rely on cash transactions to conduct business and consumers’ access to the legal tender they need to purchase the food and household items that keep their families healthy and fed.

Recently, the U.S. Coin Task Force issued a report, “The State of Coin,” to educate stakeholders, policymakers, and the public on the causes and impacts of coin circulation disruptions and coin industry actions taken to address these disruptions. FMI serves on the U.S. Coin Task Force, which was established during the height of the pandemic to raise public awareness of coin circulation issues across the country. The task force is led by the Federal Reserve System and includes membership from the U.S. Mint, and banking, armored car, and retail industries.

Due to the pandemic, much of the $48.5 billion in coin already in circulation is sitting dormant inside America’s 128 million households. As people have changed their spending habits through increased card transactions and contactless payments, both the business community and consumers are struggling to get the coin they need to make cash transactions.

“For the food industry, this coin supply disruption affects a grocer’s ability to complete cash transactions because they lack sufficient coin to make change at check out. This significantly limits the ability of millions of cash-reliant and cash-preferring Americans to buy necessary goods and services,” said Christine Pollack, vice president, government relations, FMI, and U.S. Coin Task Force member.

Pollack continued, “The sizable increase in card transactions has also meant that food retailers are paying even more in swipe fees than before the public health crisis, which were already some of the highest in the world and now amount to $110 billion annually in the United States. Returning coins into circulation can make a meaningful difference for those who depend on them the most – Americans without access to banking services and businesses that need coins to serve their cash-reliant customers. By exploring the causes of the disruptions to the coin supply chain, the U.S. Coin Task Force report is an important first step in identifying solutions to get coin moving again.”

The U.S. Coin Task Force Report is available for download here.