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Why is there a shortage of coins?

Stores are asking customers to spare a dime.

HOUSTON — Why are businesses asking everyone to use coins again?

The short answer is a shortage of coins. A group of trade associations that depend on coins like banks, retailers and grocery stores are asking the treasury department to convince Americans to start using coins again. They point out this is a real problem for people who don’t have the resources to pay electronically. An estimated 22 percent Americans are unbanked or underbanked.

While this is being called a coin shortage experts say that is not really true. There are coins. They are just being stored in jars and piggy banks in homes across the country.

While Americans have been moving away from paper money for years, the pandemic sent the trend into hyperdrive. Some businesses even stopped accepting cash, forcing people to rely only on electronic payments.

Now when people do use cash stores often don’t have enough coins to make change. That has forced them to come up with creative solutions. That includes rounding up transactions for charity donations and giving change back on loyalty cards.

Now businesses are asking for the government to launch a public awareness campaign to get quarters, nickels and dimes back in circulation.

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