Merchants Deal with U.S. Coin Shortage

Submitted by: Chamber Partner Infintech

As the coronavirus continues to impact the U.S., coins have become scarce as the virus lockdowns keep people from emptying their coin jars in exchange for paper bills. As a result, the country’s coin supply is coming up short. And as the U.S. reopens, the supply of coins has failed to keep up with renewed demand for a type of currency that, even in an increasingly digital world, remains essential to business.

In June, the Fed recently said that the pandemic “has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coin. In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly, and the U.S. Mint’s production of the coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees.”

Large Retailers Encourage Card Payment or Exact Change

Therefore, some brick-and-mortar retailers are temporarily refusing to give coins out as change.

According to, Kroger is the first large retailer to stop giving out coins as change when a customer pays with cash. Customers can either round up their bills to the nearest dollar, give the excess to charity, or get their change stored on loyalty cards. Walmart is also asking its customers to consider paying with a credit or debit card or pay with exact change if they insist on paying with cash.

Contactless Payments is a Better Option

In response to the coin shortage, large and small retailers are turning to contactless payments as a viable option for consumers to pay the exact amount of the bill. And these types of payments are perfect for facilitating a touch-free payment experience.

Large grocery chains have begun to connect their loyalty programs to contactless payment systems. In April, Kroger launched its Kroger Pay contactless payment option which allows consumers to link their payment information to their loyalty account through the Kroger app, then use a QR code for payment at checkouts or self-checkouts. Publix also recently launched a new loyalty program called Club Publix that includes a branded digital wallet, the choice to receive email receipts, and early notifications of promotions.

As the U.S. coin shortage continues, retailers should look at the options they have to manage coin distribution and the need for contactless payments.

Is Your Business Ready to Accept Contactless Payments?

To learn more about the options for modernizing payment processing in your business, contact chamber partner Infintech. Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce members are eligible for a free quote.