How the US Coin Shortage Affects the Laundromat Industry

How the US Coin Shortage Affects the Laundromat Industry

The vended laundry industry has historically been a coin-operated business. Over the past few decades, companies like ESD® have been coming up with flexible payment systems and alternative methods of accepting payments, making it easy to accept money in other forms than simply coins. In 2020, supply chains across the world struggled as the COVID-19 pandemic surged, and things we never thought we’d run out of started to become absent from store shelves.

An unexpected shortage of coin

While many were focusing on toilet paper and disinfecting wipes becoming scarce, few expected that money in general would experience a shortage. However unlikely it seemed, “The Great American Coin Shortage” became a reality in late 2020, despite over $48.5 billion in coins already in circulation. For traditionally coin-operated businesses like laundromats, this coin shortage forced owners and operators to take notice and find alternate ways of accepting money.

The slow of coin circulation

So, with almost $50 billion in coins already in circulation, many are wondering how there could even be a shortage. Much of this is due to the rippling effects of COVID-19 which included mass stay at home orders, business closures, and a quick shift to credit card only acceptance. In fact, according to the U.S. Mint, the main way coins circulate through the economy is via store transactions and coin recyclers, so as the coronavirus spread, stores closed and visits to essential retailers plunged. Without the normal foot traffic in brick-and-mortar shops, coins are collecting dust in wallets, jars, and center consoles and are not making their traditional rounds across the nation.

Limits at banks

Another unexpected consequence of the coin shortage is in the number of coins a business can get from the bank at any given time. The limits have drastically decreased which means businesses that offer machines that change dollars into quarters have limited access to coins, making it difficult to keep the machines running.

Other payment methods to accept

While many people who use vended laundry still use coins as their preferred method of payment, it’s important for owners and operators of laundromats to accept multiple methods of payment. If you’re not ready to completely eliminate the use of coins, you might want to try a hybrid method of acceptance with advanced payment systems. 

Other types of payments laundromat owners and operators are now accepting include credit cards, debit cards, loyalty chip cards, loyalty mag cards, Apple pay, and payment via a smartphone app. Customers nowadays love the flexibility of a business that gives them options, and with the shortage still surging and a culture that is moving away from coin, it might be the time to start accepting other forms of payment.

Flexible payment systems

At ESD® we have created a portfolio of flexible payment systems that are convenient for customer usage, boost customer retention, simplify vended laundry management, and streamline the process. We offer a variety of payment systems so owners and operators of laundromats can select the best option for their business. Interested in upgrading your payment systems? Give us a call today at 800-523-1510 to learn how ESD® can help you run your laundromat without having to depend on coins as the sole payment method for your customers.