SANDY, Utah — The COVID-19 pandemic is having several impacts on the economy. The latest deals with coinage.
Many businesses including Smith’s and Utah’s state-run liquor stores are asking customers to pay with debit/credit cards or exact change. The reason is due to a lack of coins to give as change.
Financial institutions say the issue is being caused by so many people either staying home or exclusively using contactless payments.
“It’s not so much a shortage as it is a recycling issue or a recirculation issue,” said Tony Rasmussen with Mountain America Credit Union. “According to the U.S. Mint about, 80 percent of the country’s coin supply happens in business process, meaning the coin moves from business to business.”
That supply chain is broken because coins are no longer moving like they were designed to move.
Mountain America Credit Union is not experiencing a shortage, but some other businesses don’t have an adequate supply.
People who have coins collecting dust can help solve this issue.
“If you are someone who rarely uses coin and you have a stockpile, be it small or somewhat significant, now would be a time to consider safely putting it back into circulation,” Rasmussen said.
One way to get those coins back into circulation is to take them to a bank. Mountain America Credit Union will count coins that are brought into each branch. That money can be exchanged for paper bills or deposited into an account. The service is free of charge for members.
“It’s one way we can really help everybody,” Rasmussen said. “All businesses, especially the businesses that really use coin can appreciate your effort.”