Coin Circulation and Strategic Allocation Efforts
On April 28, 2021, the Federal Reserve distributed a communication to all Federal Reserve Financial Services customers, which included FedCash® Services customers and armored carriers, introducing strategic allocation of coin by the Reserve Banks for all depository institutions (DIs) beginning May 3, 2021.
This page is intended to serve as a helpful resource in understanding both the current state of U.S. coin during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide updates to the ongoing efforts by the Federal Reserve Banks, FedCash Services customers, armored carriers, and other key stakeholders working together to get coin moving.
Current State of Coin Allocation
April 2022: Effective April 4, the Federal Reserve raised order limits for nickels and dimes, allowing DIs to order more coin from the Federal Reserve Banks. Quarters continue to be allocated at the October 2021 levels.
January 2022: The Federal Reserve removed order limits for pennies thanks to steady U.S. Mint production, increased DI deposits to and moderate DI orders from the Reserve Banks. Nickels, dimes, and quarters continue to be allocated at the October 2021 levels.
May to October 2021: The Federal Reserve Banks reviewed and updated coin allocation levels several times to adjust them to DI deposits and the U.S. Mint’s ability to produce new coin.
The U.S. Coin Task Force and the U.S. Mint have declared October the Get Coin Moving month, urging people to help get coin moving by returning their coin into circulation by spending it with retailers, returning it to their DI, or through a coin recycling kiosk, like the ones found at a grocery store. You can find more information about Get Coin Moving Month on the U.S. Coin Task Force’s page at getcoinmoving.org (Off-site).
Background on Coin Allocation
Coin circulation challenges began in the Spring of 2020 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Reserve began to allocate coin on June 15, 2020. Industry efforts to improve coin circulation helped to get coin moving (Off-site), allowing the Federal Reserve to gradually increase coin allocation levels throughout 2020 and to ultimately suspend allocations for all coin denominations in January 2021.
However, after a relatively stable first quarter of 2021, DI orders for coin with the Federal Reserve Banks began to increase again in March 2021. What initially appeared to be the normal seasonal increase in coin orders has developed into a sustained trend that significantly exceeded typical seasonal patterns.
DI coin deposits to the Reserve Banks have been in decline since January 2021. While it is difficult to cite a single underlying cause, the flow of coin back to Reserve Banks remains well below pre-pandemic levels.
The U.S. Mint continues to produce new coins at or near historical production levels; however, increased demand from DIs is outpacing U.S. Mint production and resupply available from low rates of deposits, resulting in the Federal Reserve’s coin inventory being reduced below normal levels.
The Federal Reserve continues to work with the U.S. Mint and others in the industry to keep coins circulating. The U.S. Coin Task Force (Off-site), which was formed in July 2020 to identify, implement, and promote actions to address disruptions to coin circulation, continues to meet regularly until coin circulation normalizes.
- Get Coin Moving (Off-site) website
- 2020 Strategic Allocation of Federal Reserve Coin Inventories — June 15, 2020 Federal Reserve announcement
- 2021 Strategic Allocation of Federal Reserve Coin Inventories — April 28, 2021 Federal Reserve announcement
- #getcoinmoving PSA from United States Mint (Off-site)
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are U.S. coins in short supply?
There is currently an adequate overall amount of coin in the economy. But the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins. This slowed pace of circulation continues to reduce available inventories in some areas of the country.
- When will coin circulation return to pre-pandemic levels?
As the economy recovers and businesses reopen, more coins will flow back into retail and banking channels and eventually into the Federal Reserve, which should allow for the further rebuilding of coin inventories available for recirculation.
- What can consumers do to help the situation?
Consumers can help by depositing coins with local banks or using a coin recycling machine. Consumers are urged to call their bank in advance to learn about the process for accepting coin deposits.