Cashing in coins to help combat national shortage

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 6:04 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2020 at 8:26 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The Federal Reserve says it needs you to break open your piggy bank and pay for as many things as you can in coins. But as our Christina Guessferd found out, Vermont businesses say the shortage isn't proving to be a problem here.

Scout & Company owner Andrew Burke says the coffee and ice cream shop is only taking in about half its usual revenue since the pandemic.

"But of the sales that remain, about 95% of them have been credit card," Burke said. "We were going through quite a bit before. We were usually going to the bank at least once a week to stock up on rolled coins. Since all of this started, I don't think I've been once in the past month."

Still, the Vermont Bankers Association says the smooth sailing so far could change on a dime.

"We're not a completely cashless society, so a lot of people still do use cash, still use coins in their transactions," said Christopher D'Elia, the president of the Vermont Bankers Association. "Think of those businesses that utilize cash transactions and coins, dollar bills and so on. So, your small convenience stores, perhaps gas stations, laundromats."

D'Elia says it comes down to a customer service concern. While the current national coin shortage won't affect the value of the dollar, it could impact businesses' ability to give you money back. The Federal Reserve expects the problem to persist for at least a couple more months.

The solution? Rather than plastic, put your extra pieces from the piggy bank toward your morning coffee or afternoon ice cream.

People like Bonnie Collins of Montpelier say it's easy to do your part.

"I actually try to use cash and coin so that I can give exact change," Collins said. "I've been at the Shaw's on Main Street, the Petco at Berlin and Price Chopper."

That way, Vermont's companies and consumers won't get milked dry.

“It’s honestly as simple as doing that,” D’Elia said.

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