United States’ coin circulation issue lingers as economy recovers

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(ABC 6 News) – For over a year, there have been signs at registers asking us to pay with a card only. The U.S. Is still facing a coin circulation issue, and local businesses are wondering when this will end.

Since June of 2020, the U.S. has been experiencing the coin circulation issue. The Federal Reserve said it’s not a shortage. The coins are out there, but there is simply not enough circulating to meet individual and business needs.

"The problem is, we don’t know from a week to week basis when we will not have change to utilize in our stores, and credit card option isn’t an option for many customers," Bryan King, the owner of the Apollo Liquor stores in Rochester, said.

Local business owners have been struggling with this for a while.

"It has been that way for over a year and three months, so we’re just curious as to why and when that will cease to exist," King said.

Economists say the shortage is a lingering effect of pandemic shutdowns when people were not out spending cash like usual.

"What’s happened is with the partial closure of the economy, the flow of coins had kind of stopped," Jerome Powell, the chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, said.

Now many retailers do not have the coins for change and are asking us to use cards only. The fed said the problem can be easily resolved…by us.

The fed’s U.S. Coin Task Force, created to handle the circulation issue, said "If just a fraction of the coin sitting dormant in households and businesses is redeemed and reused, this problem can be greatly reduced."

So you know that jar of coins in your closet? Banks would be more than happy to exchange all that heavy change for cash. If you’ve been saving it up for something special, there has never been a better time to cash it in.

The U.S. Coin Task Force has declared October as "Get Coin Moving Month" and it’s encouraging all of us to sort and deposit our change. They said it can be a great family activity and even helps kids practice their math skills.