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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Kroger stops giving change in coins due to a shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic

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The Kroger supermarket chain said that it will not be providing coins to cash-paying customers as change for the time being, due to a coronavirus-induced coin shortage. 

A Kroger spokesperson told WSAZ that rather than give customers coins for their change, they will add the remaining cents to a balance on their loyalty cards for use on their next shopping trip.

The leftover money would then be automatically applied to their next Kroger purchase. 

Kroger said that it will stop giving customers coins as their change due to a coronavirus-induced shortage. Instead, leftover change will be added to their store loyalty cards

Kroger said that it will stop giving customers coins as their change due to a coronavirus-induced shortage. Instead, leftover change will be added to their store loyalty cards 

Alternatively, the spokesperson said, customers were being encourage to donate the change and ‘Round Up’ to support the supermarket’s charity, Zero Hunger/Zero Waster Foundation, which aims to eliminate food waste in the US.

The Kroger spokesperson said that the change to the loose change policy is due to the Federal Reserve’s June revelation that the country is currently facing a coin shortage.

After months of living under stay-at-home orders, with most stores being closed or refusing to accept cash to prevent the spread of coronavirus, it appears people have turned into inadvertent coin hoarders.  

In a news release, the Federal Reserve said that the coronavirus pandemic ‘has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coin’ over the past few months.’ 

The loyalty card money would then be automatically applied to shoppers' next purchases

The loyalty card money would then be automatically applied to shoppers’ next purchases

Kroger is also encouraging customers to consider rounding up their purchases and donating the additional cents to their Zero Hunger/Zero Waster Foundation charity

Kroger is also encouraging customers to consider rounding up their purchases and donating the additional cents to their Zero Hunger/Zero Waster Foundation charity

Also contributing to the lack of coin circulation is the fact that the US Mint has had to significantly reduce its production of coins while putting coronavirus protection procedures into place for employees.  

As banks, credit unions and other ‘depository institutions’ have started to reopen, however, there has been a greater pull on the Federal Reserve’s coin inventory, leading to ‘below normal levels’ of pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters.  

Although the Federal Reserve anticipated the coin shortage to be a temporary issue, as of June 15, it was going to begin ‘allocating coin inventories’ and limit the amount sent to various institutions. 

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on June 17 that ‘The places where you go to give your coins, and get credit at the store and get cash — you know, folding money — those have not been working,’ according to the Washington Post

He added that, ‘Stores have been closed. So the whole system has kind of, had come to a stop. We’re well aware of this. … As the economy reopens, we’re seeing coins begin to move around again.’ 

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