(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Mint has some advice for consumers: don’t keep the change.
The bureau is asking Americans to start spending their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to tackle what it says is a coin-supply snag brought on by the coronavirus. Precautions taken to slow the pandemic have led to reduced sales activity and lowered deposits from third-party coin processors, the Mint said in a statement Thursday.
“Simply put, there is an adequate amount of coins in the economy, but the slowed pace of circulation has meant that sufficient quantities of coins are sometimes not readily available where needed,” the Mint said in the statement. “We are asking for your help in improving this coin supply issue. You can do so by paying for things with exact change and by returning spare change to circulation.”
The shortfall is making it more difficult for retailers to accept cash payments, according the Mint. In normal circumstances, retail transactions and coin recyclers return a significant amount of coins to circulation each day. A bureau within the Department of Treasury, the Mint supplied less than a fifth of coins in circulation last year.
During a congressional hearing last month, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the flow of coins through the economy has “kind of stopped,” but that he expected the shortage would prove temporary. Representative John Rose, a Tennessee Republican, had asked Powell about the supply issue after hearing about it from banks in his district.
The coin-circulation troubles follow disruptions at the Mint amid efforts to ensure its facilities met health standards and social distancing guidelines. Coin-making sites in West Point, New York, and San Francisco closed earlier this year for safety concerns and reopened within weeks. The Mint has been operating at full production capacity since mid-June, it said.
“We ask that the American public start spending their coins, depositing them, or exchanging them for currency at financial institutions or taking them to a coin redemption kiosk,” the Mint said in the statement. “The coin supply problem can be solved with each of us doing our part.”
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.