Have exact change? Some places requiring it because of coin shortage

ATLANTA — Can You Spare A Dime?  Nope.

If you need change for a buck, good luck. There’s a nationwide shortage of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.  Many metro area businesses don’t have a cent to spare.

Tony Davis makes his living buying and selling rare coins.  He has operated Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers for 10 years.

“It makes sense that there is a shortage currently,” Davis said.

But it’s not a shortage with the coins he deals in. It’s the ones in your own pocket. Davis says it’s a pandemic problem that started at the U.S. Mint in West Point, New York. 

“With COVID-19 being as serious as it was in New York, it pretty much shut that mint down,” Davis said.


Experts say it set off a domino effect. Other United States Mints had to socially distance their workforce, which cut production. That cut distribution to the Federal Reserve banks. Local banks then closed their lobbies where most people go to trade in coins for cash.

Many places where customers are more likely to use cash like convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and coffee shops, can’t make change. They don’t have enough coins.

A local QuikTrip posted a sign, saying, “Due to a shortage of coins from the Federal Reserve, please pay with exact change or a card.” 

Tony Davis says it may take a few months for the mint to catch up. He says some worry that this may be the beginning of the end for coins. 

“From the mint’s perspective, they’ll produce based on demand. But demand may shrink as a result of COVID-19,” he said.