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Businesses, customers see shortage of coins

Businesses, customers see shortage of coins
Businesses, customers see shortage of coins
A bank teller at First Harrison Bank’s Corydon location users a change sorter to bag coins. After sorting, the coins will be delivered to a facility where they are rolled and then delivered back to the bank. Photo by Joey Bowling
Joey Bowling, Intern, [email protected]

A coin shortage has begun to affect local branches of national chains. However, many local businesses remain untouched.

Under normal conditions, retail transactions and coin recyclers provide a steady amount of coins returning to circulation. However, due to less spending and an avoidance of using physical money to lessen the spread of the coronavirus, circulation has dropped dramatically, according to a press release from the United States Mint.

There isn’t a physical shortage of coins by number, according to the press release. Instead, the slow circulation pace has created pockets of demand higher than supply currently circulating.

As demand for coins skyrockets, the Mint produces more coins, but it can’t keep up.

In 2019 alone, third-party coin processors and retail activity contributed 83% to the supply chain. Financial concerns and people hoarding the change is also contributing to this shortage.

The Mint has been operating at full capacity since mid-June, according to a press release from the Indiana Bankers Association. It’s on track to produce 1.5 billion coins per month for the rest of 2020. In 2019, it produced about 1 billion coins per month.

Bill Harrod, president of First Harrison Bank, recommends people recirculate change when possible. That means paying with exact change or donating the change. Going to a coin-exchange kiosk also helps introduce coins back into circulation.

Harrod said businesses First Harrison works with have largely remained unaffected. One of the reasons for this could be the fact that First Harrison doesn’t bank with large corporations or national chains. Instead, most of their customers are local and don’t have the high demand which is creating shortages.

Some national chains in Harrison County are feeling the pressure, such as Dairy Queen and Kroger, which owns JayC Food Stores. Both chains have instituted policies against paying with inexact change.

Kroger gives customers two options if they pay this way: load the spare change onto their loyalty card or donate it to the Kroger Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation. Shoppers also have the option to pay with a debit or credit card.