We’re in the midst of a coin shortage right now, caused by coronavirus shutdowns that have disrupted the regular flow of nickels, dimes, and quarters.
One of the country’s largest grocery store chains, Kroger, is responding to the shortage by changing their coin policy for customers who pay with cash.
Here’s what you need to know:
If you want change back for cash purchases, make sure you have a loyalty account.
Instead of giving out change as coins, Kroger is giving their loyalty program customers the option of getting change credited to their accounts for future purchases. Just make sure you enter your phone number or scan your loyalty card before you pay.
It’s the only way Kroger is giving back change right now, so make sure you sign up for a free Kroger Plus account when you head into the store.
You’ll still get dollar bills back, though.
Otherwise, you can round up your purchases for charity.
When it comes to change owed, your other option is to round up your total to donate to charity.
Kroger’s Zero Hunger/Zero Waste Foundation is the nonprofit recipient of spare change donations right now. The foundation simultaneously helps connect people in need with food, and reduce the massive amount of food waste in the U.S.
Kroger’s other chains have their own variations on the no-change policy.
We called around to some of Kroger’s various regional store chains — Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Smith’s and King Soopers — and they’ve all introduced the option of putting change onto loyalty accounts.
Ralphs stores are offering no coins as change, unless you’re using an automated self-checkout system. Dillons and King Soopers are a little more lenient, letting insistent customers get coins.
Fred Meyer and Smith’s grocery stores don’t have a no-change policy yet, but employees there noted that because of the shortage, “When we run out, we run out,” and advised customers to shop early in the morning if they wanted coin change.