Retailers, Banks Ask Yellen for Help With Coins

Issues with coin circulation persist, hurting cash-paying customers.

March 22, 2022

U.S. Coins

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—NACS and a coalition of retail and banking groups are urging the federal government to use its resources to reinvigorate coin circulation within the United States. The groups sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen highlighting the problems both industries are experiencing in securing enough coins.

“The consequences of a coin circulation slowdown fall hardest on consumers that do not have the ability to pay electronically. If retailers are not able to offer change for cash purchases consumers who rely on cash will be vulnerable,” wrote the groups in the letter.

The Federal Reserve through its U.S. Coin Task force did launch a public campaign encouraging each participant in the ecosystem to do their part to get coins back into circulation, in late 2020 and early 2021, coin circulation improved so much that the Federal Reserve lifted its restrictions on coin orders by financial institutions. However, since then, coin circulation has slowed, and coins are being rationed once more.

“We ask that you and the Department of the Treasury use your platform and your voice to raise public awareness of this coin circulation slowdown and the need to get coin moving in the economy,” the letter states. “By amplifying the [task force’s] messaging through your public engagements and Treasury’s many communication channels, you can help the most coin-dependent of consumers and the financial institutions and retailers that serve them. Treasury-developed Public Service Announcements for example would be an effective tool to help influence consumer behavior.”

The latest request follows a letter retailers sent in August 2020 to then Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, which urged the federal government to launch a public campaign to encourage consumers to use coins for purchases, redeem them for bills or deposit them at their banks to help get more coins circulating in the U.S. economy.

NACS is a member of the Federal Reserve’s U.S. Coin Task Force.

Read more about NACS’ advocacy and how convenience stores are handling the coin circulation issue in “Change Management,” from the September 2020 issue of NACS Magazine.