The U.S. Mint is Asking You Not To Keep the Change to Prevent a Coin Shortage

A jar of coins on its side with coins spilling out

In many ways, we’re only just starting to see the full repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. Every action taken since March rippled out across the country, and months of lockdowns and law changes have shaken things up everywhere. The consequences of those actions become more clear every day, in big ways, and small.

For instance, America could be heading toward a coin shortage. The U.S. Mint warned that while there are enough coins to go around now, disruptions caused by COVID-19 have led to a coin supply shortage. The Mint is working to solve the supply issue, but everyday Americans can help too.

Fixing the Coin Supply Shortage

The Mint, which produces new coins in the U.S., identified two major reasons for the coin supply shortage: lockdowns and spending habit changes. Retail spending, particularly with cash, has been down since the pandemic started, so fewer coins are in circulation than usual.

“The COVID‐19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coin. In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly and the U.S. Mint’s production of coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees,” according to a statement from the Federal Reserve.

However, there is a relatively easy fix as the economy reopens. In a press release announcing the issue, the Mint called on Americans to lend a hand. Specifically, people can help ease the supply shortage by using spare change for purchases, particularly exact change. Moreover, people can deposit their coins or exchange them for cash at financial institutions.

Jerome Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve, said last month that he expects the shortage to be temporary.