Short answer: There IS a coin shortage in the United States. Many businesses are only accepting exact change or card payments. The Covid-19 restrictions have contributed to the coin shortage. The U.S. Mint has also reduced coin production due to the social distancing restrictions.
There Are Fewer Coins in Circulation
Consumer buying habits have also contributed to the coin shortage. People are not spending as much money due to the lockdowns. That is why there are fewer coins circulating. Jerome Powell is the chair of the US Federal Reserve. He has stated that the flow of coins has stopped because the economy is still partially shut down.
Gas stations and laundry mats are among the businesses that have been affected by the coin shortage. Stores are trying to hold onto the scarce amount of coins that they have. That is why they are asking customers to have exact change or pay with their cards. There are also some stores that are exchanging coins for dollar bills.
Why U.S. Mint Coin Production Has Been Reduced
The U.S. Mint was forced to reduce its coin production due to the measures that have been put in place to protect its employees. The Federal Reserve also manages coin inventory. The demand for coins has started to increase since many places have opened up. This has also caused the coin inventory to drop below normal.
Some Stores Incentivizing Customers to Bring in Coins
Wawa is one of the stores that is incentivized customers to bring in coins. Certain locations will allow customers to get a free drink if they bring in coins. There are also some 7-eleven stores that have incentivized customers to bring in coins. People who trade in $5 in coins for $5 in cash will be able to get a free slurpee. Furthermore, there are coinstar kiosks that give people free egift cards in exchange for coins. Tired of scrounging for change? Check out this online resource to see this year's top credit cards.
When Will the Coin Shortage Be Resolved?
The Federal Reserve released a statement that addressed the coin shortage. They stated that they are confident that the coin shortage will be resolved after the economy full reopens. However, they also stated that more will need to be done in order to address this issue.
There are things that are already being done in order to address the coin shortage. The Federal Reserve is working with U.S. Mint and encouraging institutions to only order the coins that they need.