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Coin Shortage Update
A National Effort to #GetCoinMoving

November 18, 2021

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For many, the coin shortage that began in 2020 may seem like a distant memory. That’s largely thanks to the U.S. Coin Task Force, which is still hard at work ideating new ways to encourage coin dispersal across the country.

According to the task force, coinage in the United States totals about $48.5 billion. While that may sound like a high number, many shoppers and small businesses still don’t have the change they need.

So, what’s causing the national coin shortage? It turns out, the root of the problem isn’t a lack of coins – rather, a lack of circulation. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, more people began shopping online and using contactless payment methods, like debit and credit cards. The shift to socially distant shopping methods meant coins were being left at home, rather than circulating back into the economy.

Now, several months later, although the coin shortage has improved, it remains a problem for some small businesses and financial institutions. Since July 2020, the U.S. Coin Task Force has promoted its #GetCoinMoving campaign, encouraging shoppers to spend with change.


Why Are Coins Important?

According to the SBA’s 2021 Small Business Profile, Tennessee is home to more than 600,000 small businesses. These local organizations make up 99.5% of Tennessee businesses and employ just over 42% of the state’s workers.

Small businesses are vital to the national economy, and many of them depend on coins for everyday operations.

In the U.S. Mint PSA released in May 2021, director David Ryder explains that, not only are coins essential for small businesses and banks, but also for the many U.S. citizens who don’t have access to a credit or debit card. Many shoppers rely on cash and coin for everyday purchases, which makes #GetCoinMoving efforts all the more crucial.

In addition to spearheading the #GetCoinMoving campaign, the U.S. Mint has played a direct role in ending the coin shortage. In recent months, it’s ramped up production levels, working overtime to help boost circulation. From June 2020 to May 2021, Mint employees increased coin production by 24%.


Who Created the #GetCoinMoving Campaign?

The U.S. Coin Task Force was a team organized by the U.S. Mint and supported by industry-leading groups like the Federal Reserve, American Bankers Association, Food Industry Association and more. Even Ashley Yayock, Director of Global Treasury Operations for Walmart, joined the initiative in the interest of returning coin circulation to normal in the retail space.

The task force rolled out several guidelines for people looking to help end the coin shortage, including the #GetCoinMoving campaign. Largely thanks to the group’s efforts, circulation levels have begun returning to normal. While there’s still work to be done, the U.S. Coin Task Force has helped turn the tide of the coin shortage.


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What is the #GetCoinMoving Campaign?

The task force came up with a creative solution to the coin circulation problem: a national campaign to educate the country about the importance of spare change. Launched shortly after the group formed in July, The #GetCoinMoving campaign included a host of resources for families, shoppers and businesses, all designed to help return the flow of coins to normal.

In recent months, the U.S. Coin Task Force expanded the campaign, releasing a host of resources and even dubbing October “#GetCoinMoving Month.” The group created a toolkit, including social media graphics and editable signage, for businesses to share in their marketing materials. The task force also expanded its library of digital assets, offering catchy taglines and hashtags for campaign participants to share on social media.


Is the #GetCoinMoving Campaign Working?

According to the Mint’s PSA, while the #GetCoinMoving campaign has been a success overall, the economy has not fully returned to normal. 

Ultimately, while the campaign has brought attention to the problem, the power to circulate coins back into the economy rests with shoppers.


What Can I Do to Help End the Coin Shortage?

While it’s tempting to hold onto coins in the wake of the shortage, the U.S. Coin Task Force says the best thing shoppers can do is use their spare change

If you want to help end the shortage, the answer is simple – consider paying with coins the next time you’re at the cash register.

Even if you aren’t looking to shop right now, you can still make a difference. Many banks, including SouthEast Bank, will convert your coins into cash for free, then redistribute those funds into the economy. To find a SouthEast Bank branch near you, visit our locations and hours page.


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Information contained in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing contained in this blog should be construed as legal or tax advice. An attorney or tax advisor should be consulted for advice on specific issues.