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Dollar Coin Program Ending

It looks like the dollar coin program is dead [3] and it’ll “save” $50 million a year. They’re killing it because there are tons of dollar coins sitting in vaults and it’s a waste of space and money. Unfortunately, had we gone to dollar coins instead of constantly using dollar bills, we’d have saved even more money over the long run (GAO said $5.5 billion over 30 years).

Why are the coins a failure? My gut feeling is that coins are just not popular. Coins are heavy, noisy, and more obviously dirty. How often do people drop their change in a tip jar by the register because they don’t want to carry them? I use a credit card on small purchases because I don’t want to get change. A cup of coffee? Swipe. Magazine? Swipe. To be honest, I don’t really like small bills either because I don’t need them because everything goes on a credit card. They’re dirty, they smell, and they take up space. I suspect that people don’t love the dollar bill, they just like them slightly better than dollar coins.

If the government really wanted to popularize dollar coins, they’d do away with paper dollar bills. We don’t have 25 cent bills or ten cent bills, why have two versions of something? People don’t care that a paper bill has an extremely limited lifespan because they don’t see the cost. If you want the dollar coin to work, you have to kill the dollar bill.

Why do you think dollar coins aren’t more popular?

(Photo: lrargerich [4])