In the Family Dollar stores there are signs in and around the stores that encourage customers to pay by card or exact exchange.
BOISE, Idaho – First toilet paper, change now. COVID-19 is causing a currency shortage across the country.
“I feel our world has been turned around,” said Mark, a Boise man who asked KTVB to keep his last name.
He says he has not been affected by this shortage yet but he is worried that he just likes to pay with cash and actually relies on coins to do the laundry.
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So what’s behind this shortcoming?
“There is currently a temporary shortage of coins released from the Federal Reserve. And back on June 15, they basically set what each financial institution could order, “says Brandi Dye, Vice President of Idaho Central Credit Union operations.
She told KTVB, typically financial institutions like ICCU are not limited, but with the restrictions in place, they now order about a quarter of what they normally do. She adds that there is a reason for that:
“The Federal Reserve has had to put some restrictions on COVID for social distancing so that production in the US mint is actually down,” Dye said. “Beyond that just because of the financial situation we are in right now, the coin flow has actually decreased, which means the amount of deposits taken to the Federal Reserve is significantly lower.”
In the Family Dollar stores, there are also signs in and around the stores that encourage customers to pay by card or exact exchange.
As for Mark, he hopes, like the lack of toilet paper, this too will be over in a pinch.
“We use cash when it’s the flu season, or when we have H1N1 and Sars and Ebola, we used cash in the 1918 pandemic,” Mark said. “Cash has worked for thousands of years, why remove it now.”
The Federal Reserve expects that the currency shortage will correct itself when companies resume normal operations and coin circulation returns to normal, according to the Idaho Bankers Association.
The ICCU told KTVB that it can still issue coins and currencies, only in smaller volumes.
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