Among the coronavirus pandemic’s many impacts on the country, there’s one totally unexpected problem: a nationwide coin shortage. Certain regions of the United States are officially short on coins, thanks to a huge reduction in shopping activity. Business employees have been forced to ask customers to pay with cards or use exact change.
Also fueling the coin shortage is a fearfulness surrounding cash transactions, as handling cash may put you at risk of contracting the virus.
The bright side? If you’ve been feeling a little helpless in the midst of the pandemic, this is one easy way for you to help out (in addition to wearing a mask). And it’s the perfect opportunity for your children to get involved, too.
The solution to the coin shortage is actually pretty straightforward, according to a statement from the U.S. Mint. In short, it’s important that people get their spare coins back into circulation.
“Until coin circulation patterns return to normal, it may be more difficult for retailers and small businesses to accept cash payments,” the U.S. Mint’s statement reads.
“For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment and cash transactions rely on coins to make change. We ask that the American public start spending their coins, depositing them, or exchanging them for currency at financial institutions or taking them to a coin redemption kiosk.”
For you, that means searching in spare-change jars, under couch pillows and in pants pockets to round up all the forgotten coins in your house. For your kids, that means finally breaking open their piggy banks and putting all that change to good use.
To return the coins into circulation, you can simply go to any retailer and pay for an item with exact change. You can turn this into a fun activity for your kids by allowing them to pay for something special, like a sweet treat or a new toy, with their own coins.
Alternatively, you can simply take the coins to a bank or coin-counting machine to trade them in for paper money.
Either way, you’re doing the country a favor — and what feels better than that?