4 Things to Do With Your Loose Change in a Coin Shortage

The coronavirus pandemic has created, among other things, a coin shortage. As a result, more retailers are getting more particular about giving you change after you make a cash purchase.

Since there’s a premium on coins right now, you may be wondering how best to proceed when it comes to your pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. 
This article is going to show you some steps you can take whether you want to keep more of your coins in your pocket or ensure they’re put to good use. 

With many brick-and-mortar businesses closed, coins simply aren't in circulation like they used to be. To work toward solving the issue, the Federal Reserve's Coin Task Force has announced some initial recommendations.

Those recommendations include a call to action to the American public “to return their spare change to circulation by using it for retail transactions, depositing it with financial institutions, and/or redeeming it at coin recycling kiosks.”

Coin Shortage: 4 Things to Do With Your Loose Change

Here’s how to avoid getting shortchanged.

1. Bring Exact Change With You

If paying inside a store, try to bring some coins with you. That way, you can pay for your merchandise in exact change or close to it.

2. Read the Store’s Coins Policy

If a store doesn't offer change, it should clearly state or display this policy, according to the FTC. "If you find a store that's intentionally misleading or deceptive about this policy, report it to your state's Attorney General's Office," the agency says.

3. Donate Your Coins or Take a Store Credit

Some retailers are asking customers to donate their coins to deal with the issue.

If that’s the case where you shop, you can ask the cashier if you can donate your loose change to charity or get store credit.

4. Save Your Coins

The federal call to action is not a mandate, so if you’re worried about the scarce amount of coins you have, hang on to them and use a credit card instead.


If you want to help put more coins in circulation, you can follow another of the Coin Task Force's recommendations: Take your loose change to your bank or credit union to exchange for cash. You can also convert coins to cash with Coinstar machines.

Looking for some Coinstar alternatives? Here's where to look.

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