Oklahoma bankers call upon consumers to help get coins back in circulation to remedy coin shortage

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A coin shortage is being felt in Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma bankers are calling upon community members to help fix the problem by cashing in their spare change.

The Oklahoma Bankers Association issued a news release calling upon consumers to deposit their spare change at their local bank or coin-cashing machines.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a coin shortage.

“When COVID-19 restrictions went into place, establishments like retail shops, bank branches, and laundromats—the typical places where coin enters society—closed, it significantly slowed the normal rate of coin circulation,” the news release states.

Consumers who would have shopped at stores switched to shopping online, and those who managed to shop in person used debit and credit cards to avoid physical contact associated with using cash, according to the news release.

Coins that consumers would have received in change were not circulated back into the system.

“In the beginning of 2020, more than 4 billion coins were deposited—or recirculated—each month,” said Adrian Beverage, Chief Lobbyist for the Oklahoma Bankers Association. “Those numbers dropped to less than 2 billion beginning in April.”

But with businesses having reopened, there is increasing demand for merchants to stock their coins at higher levels. However, a large number of those coins remain with consumers, according to the news release.

The coin shortage is a critical issue since recirculated coins represent over 80 percent of the supply, “with the remaining amount being new coins produced by the Mint.”

“There is adequate coin in the economy; however, the slowed pace of circulation means that a sufficient amount of coins is not readily available where needed,” Beverage said. “If you have spare change, we encourage all Oklahomans to check with their local bank to see if they are accepting rolled coins, use exact amounts when purchasing items, or deposit them in grocery store coin-cashing machines.”

The U.S. Treasury estimates $47.8 billion worth of coins were in circulation as of April 2020. It was $47.4 billion as of April 2019.

The Federal Reserve projects a supply and demand gap between 2.3 to 3.5 billion coins each month through the end of 2020, according to the news release.

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