The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal circulation patterns of U.S. coin and has posed significant challenges for the U.S. coin supply chain. A number of factors contributed to these challenges, including changes in consumer payment behavior, stay-at-home orders by state and local governments resulting in many business and bank closures, as well as the slowdown of the ability to obtain raw materials for manufacturing new coins, the availability of labor across the coin supply chain, and changes to the coin-supply-chain-servicing infrastructure.
All of these factors contribute to hurdles for the American consumers and businesses to get the coin that they need to support cash transactions. Yet, like never before, the pandemic has emphasized the importance of cash for consumers. Millions of Americans rely on currency and coin as their only or preferred form of payment, and businesses rely on cash and coin to make change for those transactions.
This pandemic is quite unique when compared to other previous disruptions, and as a result, operational challenges caused by COVID-19 are hard to diagnose. Many factors leading to the slowdown of coin circulation were easily observable and explainable. However, given the anonymous nature of cash transactions, the proportional contributions of each factor to the problem are difficult to measure with any degree of certainty. Consequently, while the circulation slowdown has persisted now for more than a year and half, it is still unclear what factors weigh most heavily.
This paper is a work product of the U.S. Coin Task Force, a group of coin industry representatives that came together at the onset of the pandemic to identify, refine and promote strategies to resolve the pandemic-related coin supply chain issues. The paper examines the causes that contributed to the coin circulation disruption, the impacts to those affected by this issue, as well as response actions taken by the coin industry to address the situation.
#getcoinmoving PSA from United States Mint
United States Mint Director David Ryder speaks about how Americans can help #GetCoinMoving again and into the hands of the people and businesses that need them.
Statement from the U.S. Coin Task Force on the Coin Circulation Issue
May 18, 2021
Coin circulation has once again emerged as a disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have referred to this as a shortage; however it is not. There is approximately $48.5 billion in coin already in circulation, much of which is sitting dormant inside America’s 128 million households. Returning coins into circulation by spending them, or depositing or exchanging them at banks or kiosks, will make a meaningful difference for the millions of American people and businesses that rely on coins to support cash transactions.
“The weak circulation affects most everyone, but the hardest hit are small cash-dependent businesses and those who are least well off” says Hannah vL. Walker, a U.S. Coin Task Force member and Vice President with FMI – The Food Industry Association. “For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment.”
If just a fraction of the coin sitting dormant in households and businesses is redeemed and reused, this problem can be greatly reduced.
Every Coin Counts: How Americans Can Help Get Coin Moving
The U.S. Coin Task Force continues to offer resources and recommendations, and guidance for banks and retailers, and we continue to encourage the American public to:
- Start spending their coins
- Deposit coins at their financial institutions
- Redeem coins at coin kiosks
- Use the hashtag #getcoinmoving in your own social media posts to promote awareness and understanding of this issue
- Visit getcoinmoving.org for more information
Working to Recharge Coin Circulation in the United States
Coin circulation has emerged as a new disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have referred to this as a shortage; however it is not. There is more than $40 billion in coin already in circulation, most of which is sitting dormant inside America’s 128 million households. As people have changed their spending habits, and coin-intensive businesses and financial institution lobbies have been less accessible, the nation’s coin is pooling in change jars, in car cup holders and in shuttered businesses, making it difficult for the businesses of this country to get the coin that they need to support cash transactions. To address the circulation problem, the United States Mint and Federal Reserve established a U.S. Coin Task Force in July 2020 that includes representatives of critical parts of the coin supply chain.
"The weak circulation affects most everyone but the hardest hit are small cash-dependent businesses and those who are least well off” says Hannah vL. Walker, a Task Force member and Vice President with FMI – The Food Industry Association. “For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment."
About the U.S. Coin Task Force and this Website
The U.S. Coin Task Force was convened in July 2020 (Off-site) and charged with identifying, refining and promoting strategies to resolve the coin supply chain issues resulting from COVID-19-related disruptions to normal coin circulation. Task force members represent all major participants in the coin supply chain, including representatives from the following groups:
- Unites States Mint
- Federal Reserve
- Armored Carriers
- American Bankers Association
- Independent Community Bankers of America
- National Association of Federal Credit Unions
- Coin Aggregator representatives
- Retail Trade Industry
For a complete list of members, visit the Members page.
Content and materials provided on this website are a product of a cross-industry work group - the U.S. Coin Task Force - and do not reflect the views of the Federal Reserve or any individual or organizations represented on the task force.
July Report and Initial Recommendations
On August 4, the U.S. Coin Task Force published its initial recommendations for addressing the coin circulation issues in the supply chain as a result of COVID-19. These initial recommendations are an outcome of the task force’s first phase, which concluded at the end of July. The task force agreed to continue work in August on the second phase, focused on refining these recommendations as well as identifying strategies that would require a longer lead time to develop.
Engaging the U.S. Coin Task Force
Organizations interested in providing feedback and input to the task force are encouraged to reach out to the trade association representative members who most closely align with their industry / interest. Please refer to the Members page for member information.
U.S. Coin Task Force Public Statements
- U.S. Coin Task Force Announces Recommendations (Off-site) (August 4)
- Statement from the U.S. Coin Task Force on the Coin Circulation Issue (Off-site) (July 24)
U.S. Mint Press Releases
- United States Mint Releases Public Service Announcement Regarding Circulating Coins (Off-site) (August 5)
- United States Mint Statement on Circulating Coins (Off-site) (July 23)