Got any spare change? Likely not. National coin shortage affecting Mid-South businesses

WATCH: Got any spare change? National coin shortage affecting Mid-South businesses

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — First, it was toilet paper, then sanitizing wipes, then face masks, and now….it’s coins.

A penny for your thoughts?

Probably not.

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A COVID-caused coin shortage is making that spare change in your cupholder a hot commodity.

“There are things people take for granted, but when you go buy a coke from a vending machine, sometimes you pull out five quarters, or whatever it is,” said Shayne Jernigan, First Horizon Bank.

More than just a minor inconvenience, Jernigan of First Horizon bank said a nationwide coin shortage has left banks and Mid-South businesses rationing coins, something no one saw coming in the digital age.

“Because of the pandemic, the (federal reserve) hasn’t produced enough coin,” Jernigan said. “They let us know about a month ago, the banking industry, that we weren’t going to get as much coin as we had ordered in the past.”

Under Safer at Home orders, we shopped online, used our cards, disrupting the flow of cash and change through the economy.

“A lot of businesses that would bring us coins, they weren’t in business,” Jernigan said. “They had slowed down or they had closed, so we weren’t getting as much.”

Across the Mid-South, you’ve likely seen signs encouraging cashless payment options.

No, they’re not trying to nickel and dime you, and it isn’t some conspiracy to track your banking information.

Jernigan said that’s one solution they suggest for commercial business customers to keep the cash flowing and if you’re looking to help, Jernigan has a suggestion.

“A lot of people such as myself, we just get coins and throw them in a drawer,” Jernigan said. “A year or two later, we go find it, dig it all out and take it to the bank. That’s what we would like for our customers to do now.”

If you have a piggy bank or change jar lying around, Jernigan said you don’t have to worry about rolling up your coins in papers to take them to the bank.

Most can take coins even in a bag and see to it that the money is deposited into your account.