Retail Stores Can't Guarantee Change Back When Paying With Cash Due To Coin Shortage

Friday, July 10th 2020, 1:04 pm
By: CBS News

If the list of problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic wasn't long enough, here's one more. There is a shortage of coins, and getting change at the store may be difficult in some parts of the country.

QuikTrip is one of many businesses experiencing a shortage of coins. There are signs posted asking customers for exact change, and if they don't have it, any money back will be in the form of a gift card.

Across the country companies are warning customers they're low on change.

The coronavirus pandemic is the reason why. The U.S. circulation of coins slowed down dramatically when retail stores were forced to shutdown. At the same time, the U.S. Mint had to cut production of new coins because of staffing changes to keep workers safe. The Federal Reserve then put limits on how much change banks would be given.

Now that stores are back open, many can't get enough coins from banks and are asking consumers for help.

David Poteete says he, "just saw the sign in the door of the QuikTrip that they need coins, so rather than take them to the bank we just brought them in here."

QuikTrip says customer contributions have eased the problem, but elsewhere shortages continue.

A 7-Eleven in Michigan offered shoppers with $5.00 in coins cash and a free Slurpee.

Banks are also asking the public to open up their piggy banks. "If you have large amounts of coin at home, take them to your bank and have them run and then just get the cash. You still have the same amount of money and we have coins to circulate out," says Alicia Wade, COO, Valliance Bank.

The U.S. Mint has been able to ramp up production to more than 1.5 billion coins a month.

The Federal Reserve expects the shortages to ease as the economy opens up more, but's not clear when that will be.