What Is a Coin Shortage, and Are We Facing One Right Now?

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If you paid for something in cash recently, you may not have received the full amount of change that was owed to you. In fact, some retailers had to put a temporary hold on cash transactions in general. The reason for this, like many other inconveniences in the last few years, stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic. When businesses aren’t able to use cash for legal tender, a financial domino effect occurs, and vulnerable people tend to be affected the most.

The proverbial salt in the wound is that the U.S. has safety nets and regulations in place to protect our currency in a coin shortage, and throughout history, the United States has had to adjust the ways its coins are made and how many are produced. The coin supply chain issues we've recently faced should be considered less of a failure on the behalf of the U.S. Mint in particular and more of a reason to acknowledge the severity of COVID-19 and the problems it caused.

The U.S. Coin Task Force was established last year — which was probably not on anyone’s 2020 bingo card. To learn more about this task force, protective legislation to prevent coin supply chain issues and other efforts to make sure everyone has the coins they need, read on below.