National Coin Shortage Forcing Some Supermarkets To Limit Cash Transactions

A national coin shortage sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is forcing many supermarkets to ask customers to pay with exact change or use their credit or debit cards.

Last month, the Federal Reserve warned that the pandemic "significantly disrupted" the supply chain for coins. The U.S. Mint cut production to keep workers healthy and safe, while many people stopped paying with cash because most businesses were closed down.

When states began to reopen their economies, the Federal Reserve had to limit the number of coins it distributed to local banks to "mitigate the effects of low coin inventories."

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell spoke about the shortage while testifying in front of the House Financial Services Committee.

"With the partial closure of the economy, the flow of funds through the economy has stopped," Powell said. "We are working with the Mint and the Reserve Banks, and as the economy reopens, we are starting to see money move around again."

As businesses begin to reopen, many customers may find themselves scrounging for loose change if they want to pay with cash. 

Not everybody seems to be worried about the coin shortage, though. At a convenience store in Detroit, one customer told WDIV that it doesn't bother him too much since he rarely carries cash.

"Self-checkouts, no coins, got to use card only. Debit, credit, I don't even think they're taking a check. Really, it doesn't bother me, I mostly use my card anyways. I don't, carrying cash nowadays, especially with the (you know) I mostly use my card anyways," he said.

Photo: Getty Images

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