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

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).

May to July 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.

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.

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