SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If you’ve been out shopping or grabbing food at a restaurant around Sioux Falls, you may have noticed more signs popping up asking you to pay with your credit or debit card. It’s not only a COVID-19 precautionary measure, its also due to a nationwide coin shortage.
“I was at a Caribou Coffee store, they have a sign up that they would prefer us to use credit or debit card rather than pay with cash because of the coin shortage,” Sioux Falls shopper Richard Gab said.
These signs are a gentle way to alert shoppers to the issue, but if you like to pay with cash, you may run into a harder reality of the shortage.
“If you don’t bring exact change, just be prepared that you may not get exact change back,” Tony Nour, Senior Vice President of Relationship Banking at First PREMIER Bank said.
Tony Nour says in some parts of the country where coins are the hardest to come by, businesses may round up cash purchases or simply require everyone to pay by credit or debit card.
“We haven’t had the broad shutdowns that you’ve seen in other parts of the country,” Nour said of South Dakota.
Nour says the shut down of commerce nationwide is one factor behind the shortage.
“Its really the slow down in business activity, with closures of businesses throughout the country, you’ve seen a slowdown of coin moving through our system,” Nour said.
U.S. mints also slowed production of coins during the height of the pandemic in an effort to protect their employees. While they’ve since ramped up production to help with the shortage, many banks are now turning to the public for help.
“I brought a bunch of coins from Florida for my grandkids and we rolled them up and got rid of them,” Gab said.
That’s exactly what banks are asking customers to do–bring your collection of coins back to the bank.
“A lot of customers whether its a piggy bank or a jar, have coin that’s at home,” Nour said. “We recently relaunched our kids club program to allow kids to bring in coins and be part of this as well. That’s how consumers can help.”
Nour says many people have answered their request to bring in coins and that’s helped First Premier Bank to be able to continue supplying their retail and business customers with the coins they need.
While the shortage is not as dire in many parts of South Dakota, customers are still encouraged to use credit or debit cards wherever possible.