Oh where, oh where did all the coins go?

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2020

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That can or jar where you throw your extra change at the end of the day may become more valuable in the days ahead thanks to what is being called a national coin shortage.
Local retailers are taking steps to prevent a problem with giving change during the purchase of items in their stores by asking customers to use exact change or debit/credit cards.
Pic-N-Sav Manager Sheila Shipp said her store is working with customers to make sure they can make their purchases comfortably.
“Right now we are able to get just what we need in the way of coins,” Shipp said. “We are not giving out any extra change, only what is needed for the transaction. We are trying to limit our use of coins and make sure that we have what we need to take care of our customers. We aren’t running short as of right now. We are asking people to use a debit card when possible, but we are making change.”
Other retailers are following the same guidelines by asking customers to pay with a card or with exact change when possible.
Walmart, for instance, has changed most of their self-checkout registers to “card only” transactions. Although those who use the regular cashier-service lines will still be able to pay for their purchases with cash and get change back.
In a recent statement from Avani Dudhia, a spokesperson for Walmart, the company is looking at the shortage and is taking steps to ensure being able to meet the needs of their customers.
“Like most retailers, we’re experiencing the effects of the nation-wide coin shortage. We’re asking customers to pay with card or use correct change when possible if they need to pay with cash,” Walmart Spokesperson Avani Dudhia said.
In mid-June, the Federal Reserve announced the possibility of a coin shortage and attributed it to the impact of Covid-19 in communities across the country. Although the shortage is still in question, Reservists feel the shortage will eliminate itself over a period of time and the reopening of businesses across the nation.
“Business and bank closures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins,” according to a Federal Reserve statement. “While there is an adequate overall amount of coins in the economy, the slowed pace of circulation has reduced available inventories in some areas of the country The Federal Reserve is working with the U.S. Mint and others in the industry on solutions. As a first step, a temporary cap was imposed on the orders depository institutions place for coins with the Federal Reserve to ensure that the current supply is fairly distributed. In addition, a U.S. Coin Task Force was formed to identify, implement, and promote actions to address disruptions to coin circulation. As the economy recovers and businesses reopen, more coins will flow back into retail and banking channels and eventually into the Federal Reserve, which should allow for the rebuilding of coin inventories.”
Speaking with officials at TrustMark bank, coins are being made available to their customers amid the shortage.
“We received word on June 12 of the expected coin shortage,” said Kelly Madden with TrustMark’s Brewton branch. “We are following the guidelines of our corporate leaders. Right now, we have coins to meet the needs of our customers.”