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Local businesses feeling effects of coin shortage

A national coin shortage takes its toll on the Rockford region for the second time.
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - In a bit of Deja Vu, businesses across the Rockford region feel the effects of a national coin shortage.

It first appeared last year, shortly after the start of the pandemic, as people held on tight to their change. Things improved for a bit as businesses reopened and coins circulated again. But now banks and stores find themselves short again.

“We’ve had to limit some of the coins that we are filling with for their coin holders for their customers,” said Northwest Bank Retail Compliance and Logistics Specialist Mary Williams.

Williams said the bank orders 40% fewer coins than usual and encourages customers and businesses to use cards or digital payment methods.

“We are a society that uses our plastic and so it’s much easier to shop... you can use it anywhere in it’s safer to use in stores and online,” said Williams.

Cantina Taco Owner Aakash Patel says close to 75% of orders at his restaurant are paid by credit card.

“It’s just more convenient. We didn’t want to lug around coins or change either and then obviously hanging out change constantly,” said Patel.

Patel said his food truck prices are in even amounts so customers don’t need to fill their pockets with coins.

“I mean digital currencies, I mean in general is the thing that’s going to take over. The only downside obviously is the credit card fee... but it’s just a part of the business.”

Williams said this shortage shouldn’t last more than another month or two, and one way to help out the banks is to bring in loose change you may find around the house or in your car.

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