Coin Shortage: Federal reserve allocates coins in response to COVID-19

Published 3:15 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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COVID strikes again…this time with coins.
If you’ve been shopping lately at places like Walmart, you may have noticed that the self checkout option is asking for cards only. While annoyed you may be if you intended to pay for your items in cash, there is actually a reason behind this…COVID-19.
According to the Federal Reserve, the virus greatly disrupted the supply chain and distribution of the U.S. coin.
“In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly and the U.S. Mint’s production of coins also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees,” the Federal Reserve website states.
The website further elaborates in detailing that as regions reopen, coin orders from depository institutions have begun to increase, resulting in the Federal Reserve’s coin inventory being reduced to below normal levels.
The Federal Reserve has taken several actions to alleviate this problem, including managing the allocation of existing federal inventories of coins, working with the Mint and encouraging depository institutions to ask for only the coins they need to meet customer demand. They have also recommended the removal of barriers on loose and rolled coins as deposits as well. According to the website, it is believed that things with the coin will return to normal once circulation increases and regions reopen, however in the near-term it can be an ongoing issue.
On June 15 the Federal Reserve began allocating available supplies of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to depository institutions as a temporary measure.
So, how will this impact you?
With some businesses in Elizabethton reporting coin shortages, requiring exact change or having many checkouts becoming cards only, a digital approach could be on the horizon. Those with debit cards may need to use those in favor of cash for the time being. Also, those who do not have a debit card may need to consider obtaining one from their bank. Another avenue is prepaid debit cards which can be purchased at various stores. Money can be deposited onto these cards for use. Lastly, those who are die-hard cash and change fans should look to giving exact change for the near future in the case that a place may not have enough change to give you back.
For more information on the Federal Reserve you can go to

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