With a dip in consumer spend and retailers urging customers to pay with cards alternatively of cash, the coronavirus pandemic has taken coins out of circulation and created a deficit across the United States. By now, it ’ s probable you ’ ve seen signs at your grocery store asking you to pay with exact change.
Reading: Where did all the coins go?
The Federal Reserve has created a job violence to study the trouble. With representatives from the U.S. Mint, Walmart, Coinstar and the Fed ’ s own experts, the tax force is hoping to find solutions for bringing coins back into this economy .
Sherri Reagin, the executive frailty president of the united states of North Salem State Bank in Indiana, is besides on the task wedge. Reagin spoke with “ Marketplace ” host Kai Ryssdal about solutions to get “ coins back into the correctly hands. ” The watch is an edit transcript of their conversation .
Kai Ryssdal: so where are all the coins in this economy ?
Sherri Reagin: The coins are actually still available. They are out in circulation. They barely are not moving where they need to be. In 2019, we had 47.4 billion coins in circulation, and presently there ’ s 47.8 billion. So we actually have more out there. They barely need to get moving .
Ryssdal: so that ’ second that billions of dollars ’ worth of coins, right ? Almost $ 50 million worth of coins ?
Reagin: Yeah, there ’ s batch of mint out there .
Ryssdal: OK, so other than me with probably a couple hundred dollars in milk jars on my dresser and my now abandoned position, they ’ re just not being spent. Is that what ’ second going on ? Because people aren ’ thymine going out there and spending money ?
Reagin: You ’ re right. People have absolutely changed their spend habits during the pandemic. There ’ randomness a lot of shutter businesses, aggregate transit international relations and security network ’ metric ton running, laundromats have been closed. Oftentimes, you know, our savings bank customers have been saving coin and bring it into cash in to go on vacations or trips, and people aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate traveling correct now. So they ’ rhenium not taking their mint into Coinstar machines and things like that.
Read more: Events Timeline
Ryssdal: OK, so a powerful as the Federal Reserve is and adenine well intentioned as this job pull is, how are you going to change consumer behavior ? Or do we just have to deal with a mint deficit until, I guess, there is a vaccine, right ?
Reagin: well, you know, we ’ ra presently working on getting communications out to help people address the mint dearth and help address the supply chain, because we believe that it ’ s a supply chain offspring, and we just need to get the coins back into the right hands .
Ryssdal: What happens though, if I — and look, this is going to sound like a trivial thing, but it ’ s substantial for thus many people — if I have to have quarters to do my laundry, and I can ’ thyroxine get quarters ? What do I do ?
Reagin: And that is the real problem. You know, there ’ s a bunch of local retailers who aren ’ metric ton accepting cash properly now because they don ’ t have the change to give their customers or they ’ rhenium putting it back on a wag. But you know, these are unprecedented times. We don ’ thymine truly know what it ’ second going to look like in two weeks. So we barely encourage everyone to look under the couch cushions and in their cars and somehow have the coin rear in circulation .
Ryssdal: If you and the Fed and this task force are successful, how long you figure until we ’ ra approaching something normal with the coin deficit in this economy ?
Reagin: I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate know that we have any projection of what that ’ mho going to look like. I think in some metropolitan areas, bank lobbies are not however open. sol then it becomes how do we get the mint to the banks ? cipher knows how this pandemic is going to end or how much longer it ’ mho going to continue. We ’ re just going to take it one day at a time .
For even more on the history of coins, check out “Million Bazillion,” a new Marketplace podcast for the whole family. Our first episode explores the origins of money. Find that and more at Marketplace.org/million.
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