- Kroger stores will stop giving customers coin change when they pay with cash at checkout, according to the company's Twitter account and a local report from the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- The decision comes as the entire country faces a coin shortage due to the economic slowdown and the Federal Reserve’s drop in production during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Instead, shoppers will be given alternative options if they are owed change. They can round up to support Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative, or they can have the balance added to their customer loyalty card and it will be automatically applied to their next purchase.
Based on Kroger’s tweets Sunday, it appears the policy is going to go into effect across banners and locations. A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to Grocery Dive’s request for confirmation.
On Monday, News 4 Nashville received the following statement from a Kroger spokesperson: “We know this is an inconvenience for our customers and we appreciate their patience. The Treasury Department expects the shortage to diminish as more regions of the country reopen.”
The problem isn’t unique to Kroger. Other food and non-food retailers including Giant, 7-Eleven and Lowe’s have expressed concern and asked customers to limit cash transactions or pay with exact change if they choose to use cash.
While much of the country has moved away from using cash and coins, some Americans, especially lower income earners, rely on cash payments and change since they may not have access to full banking services. And although the limited supply of coins is expected to be temporary, it has already caused hardship among many retail businesses whose customers pay with cash.
Last month, the National Grocers Association along with several other industry groups called on the Federal Reserve to boost coin production so independent grocers, and more specifically their customers, wouldn’t take a financial hit.
Kroger’s alternatives to coin change could pose some additional challenges. For examples, customers who need the change for financial reasons and aren’t members of the loyalty program may not want to round up to donate to Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste campaign.