U.S. Federal Reserve Acknowledges Coin Shortage:
How Will It Affect ARCO?

by Charlotte Purdy

The U.S. Federal Reserve acknowledged in a news release on June 11, 2020 that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic had significantly diminished the U.S. coin supply. With businesses being closed due to the virus and people staying home as they practice social distancing, the exchange of coins has fallen short in certain areas of the United States.

Since COVID-19 arrived in March, debit cards and personal checks have been used more frequently to help prevent the spread of the virus. Many people prefer the cashless payments when shopping, but without the circulation of the coins already out there, businesses and banking institutions are having a hard time getting coins.

Arkansas County has not noticed the shortage yet. Warren Jennings, Jr. of Arkansas County Bank stated “We have a good supply of coins and they (U.S. Mint) are producing coins again, and customers are bringing coins in. With our supply and the coins being deposited, I don’t expect to see a shortage here.” Jennings went on to say, “Our community has been blessed. We did not have to shut down like a lot of other cities and that helped keep the exchange of bills and coins as they were before the pandemic hit.”

Since the pandemic made its way across the state businesses were forced to close due to rules and regulations set forth by CDC. Restaurants, hair salons, and small businesses were forced to close and during that time.

DeWitt restaurants found other ways to conduct business and still service their customers by offering drive through services and well as delivery which allowed for the circulation of coins and bills to continue as it did prior to the shutdown. Is that enough though to keep ARCO from seeing a coin shortage and businesses having to adjust how they complete transactions?

Tammy Mannis with Stone Bank’s DeWitt and Gillett branches stated, “We are limited on the amount of coins we can get during a time period, but we expect our supply to be enough until the shortage is lifted. We haven’t noticed an impact in our area yet.” Mannis also stated, “We are accepting coins at all of our locations.”

So, what can you do to help prevent the coin shortage from affecting the way local businesses do transactions? Although debit/credit cards have become the easiest way to pay for your purchases, using cash and correct change will help prevent a shortage from occurring in ARCO.

If you have been collecting change, now is a good time to cash it in at your local bank. Simply call ahead to find out what days they take in coins and cash in your change collection.