Nationwide coin shortage hits Idaho, and banks are asking for your loose change

POCATELLO – Until recently, loose change might be something you took for granted.

“We’re seeing a shortage of coin throughout the nation and really it is a result of the overall decrease in flow of coin because of the situation we’re in economically,” says Idaho Central Credit Union Vice President of Operation Brandi Dye.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the economy shut down, Idahoans spent less money at local businesses.

“Naturally, the businesses that are used to accepting and receiving lots of coin, didn’t. Business slowed,” Dye says.

As the economy slowed down nationwide, so did the United States Mint.

RELATED | The US Mint is literally begging for spare change

Though the normal production level has picked back up recently, many people in eastern Idaho are finding it hard to find businesses that accept cash. This means doing simple things like laundry at a laundromat can become difficult tasks.

If you need change, Dye says the local branch of the bank you use is your best bet.

“We at Idaho Central are definitely able to help in that scenario. We’re here for you in the cases where you really need it. We’re always going to encourage electronic means, but when you really need it we’re definitely here to help and I’m sure many local institutions are the same.”

Even though the Mint is producing coin at its usual rate again, Dye says it will be a while before it makes its full impact on Idaho.

During the coin shortage, some banks are offering special incentives to get their customers to bring in their loose change. If you have some spare change lying around and don’t have a specific need for it, Dye is asking you to take it to your local bank.

“Now is definitely the time to bring that in…so that we can start to build the inventory back up and start increasing the flow of coin again,” says Dye.