You’ve probably seen signs in grocery stores or other retail outlets lately asking customers to pay with exact change. That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a national coin shortage.

Walmart just announced it would be requiring all customers to wear masks at their stores nationwide starting Monday, July 20. Now the retailer is asking customers to pay with debit or credit cards due to the current coin shortage.

According to KHOU, Walmart Spokesperson Avani Dudhia had this to say in a statement:

Like most retailers, we're experiencing the effects of the nation-wide coin shortage. We're asking customers to pay with card or use correct change when possible if they need to pay with cash.

Walmart has converted some of their self-checkout and standard registers to only take debit or credit cards in an effort to encourage card payments.

The current shortage is the result of a combination of several factors.

For one thing, many retailers were shut down early on in the pandemic, which led to fewer coins being in circulation.

In addition, the U.S. Mint reduced production of new coins due to staffing changes that were put into place during the pandemic. As a result, the Federal Reserve put limits on how many coins banks would be given.

Also, people aren’t using coins as much at places like car washes, vending and laundromats.

Economist Matt Finn compared it to the toilet paper shortage that occurred early in the pandemic. The system takes a hit whenever people drastically change their spending habits.

The good news is that the problem is expected to fix itself once the country gets back to business as usual.

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