ALEXANDRIA, Va.—To address the ongoing coin circulation issue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, NACS has been invited to serve on the U.S. Coin Task Force, a group dedicated to identifying and promoting strategies to get coins moving again. The United States Mint and Federal Reserve convened the task force, which is made up of members representing all major participants in the coin supply chain.
“Half of America stops by a convenience store every day, and the average in store transaction is $7.34. The ability to make change for our cash-paying customers is imperative. NACS welcomes the opportunity to join the U.S. Coin Task Force and lend our industry’s unique voice to the issue in an effort to get coins moving,” states Anna Ready Blom, NACS director of government relations.
The coin circulation issue developed early on in the pandemic when many businesses and bank lobbies were closed, most Americans were home and those who were paying for goods were using less and less cash. As a result, retailers across the country saw a drastic drop in the coin orders they were able to get filled at their banks, presenting significant challenges in making change for cash-paying customers. This has had a disparate effect on businesses, like convenience stores, that serve Americans who rely on cash to pay for goods and services, especially on low-dollar transactions.
While many referred to what was happening as a shortage, the U.S. Coin Task Force explains that there are in fact enough coins, they are just not moving.
“There is more than $40 billion in coin already in circulation, most of which is sitting dormant inside America’s 128 million households. As people have changed their spending habits, and coin-intensive businesses and financial institution lobbies have been less accessible, the nation’s coin is pooling in change jars, in car cup holders and in shuttered businesses, making it difficult for the businesses of this country to get the coin that they need to support cash transactions,” states the U.S. Coin Task Force.
NACS sent letters raising the issue last summer to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and the former U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, the first asking them to address the issue and the second urging them to launch a public awareness campaign. Many convenience retailers got creative in their response to the issue with their own customer awareness and incentive campaigns aimed at getting customers to bring in their coins.
David Ryder, director of the U.S. Mint, recently published a public service announcement discussing the issue. The U.S. Coin Task Force launched the #getcoinmoving campaign and have published a number of recommendations and resources to educate and motivate consumers to redeem their coins.