FAST FIVE: America's Coin Shortage Is Getting Worse
And believe it or not, cash is still being used in 49% of payments that are $10 or below, according to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, reported on by Bloomberg.
Despite the Fed's best efforts to keep money circulating, there is still a coin shortage in the US The effects are being felt in places like laundromats, where coins are used to do laundry.
Brian Wallace, president and CEO of the Coin Laundry Association (we swear this is an actual organization), said: “This is just an unexpected wrench in the works that I don't think any of us could have anticipated, finding ourselves short on quarters.” Only about 20% of laundromats offer a card option and 27% accept credit cards.
Anything that impedes that progress certainly impacts tens of millions of families that use vended laundry each week,” Wallace continued. Coinstar, which processed $2.7 billion worth of coins last year, collects an 11.9% fee from customers.
And despite operating in Japan, Canada, Italy, and several other European countries, it hasn't seen the same issues outside the US “There's something unique about the US that we can't figure out why this has come to this crisis,” says Jim Gaherity, chief executive officer of Coinstar. “I don't refer to it as a shortage, I refer to it as 'We don't have coin moving.' It's there, it's just not in the right place.” Jerome Powell said in June that the shortage would be temporary, while at the same time US mints spool up more production.