The ripple effects of a coin shortage across the nation are being felt right here on the borderland.

Break out with your pennies because there is a bonafide coin shortage across the country and its effects are being felt locally in the Sun City.

The United States Federal Reserve recently announced it was experiencing "low coin inventories" due to the pandemic. With fewer employees working at the U.S. Mint, production on new money has been slow, compounded by less spending of physical cash over the last few months from families across America.

Basically what is happening with this coin shortage according to the Federal Reserve is a "circulation disruption rather than an actual shortage". Even though there are more than $40 billion coins in circulation, Americans are just not spending it and instead are holding onto their change.

In El Paso, local businesses are also being impacted by the coin shortage, from convenience stores to restaurants to cashiers at major retailers. Customers are being asked to pay with exact change or pay with a credit card including Jack in The Box who has a sign posted outside its drive-thru window:

How can we help in El Paso?

Buy Back Program:

  • Call your local branch of a state or community bank or credit union to inquire about any buyback programs.

Coinstar Machine

If you can't find a local bank or retailer that is looking to buy back coins, head to your nearest Albertsons. Coinstar allows you to do the following with your spare change: (note there is a nominal fee)

  • Convert your change into a gift card with Coinstar, which can be used at Amazon, Lowe's, Starbucks, or Best Buy, and you won't get charged a fee either
  • Donate your spare change without any fees to organizations such as the American Red Cross, Feeding America, and the Children's Miracle Network