The Wall Street Journal had an article this morning about replacing $1 bills with $1 coins. The Government Accountability Office (ironic name) is recommending that the $1 bill be phased out in favor of longer lasting $1 coins.
A quote from the article:
Last year, the U.S. Treasury curtailed production of dollar coins after finding that more than 40% had been returned to the government unwanted. At the time, government vaults held 1.4 billion such coins–enough to meet demand for a decade.
My personal experience with the dollar coins was a reluctance by merchants to take them. It is not surprising that 40% were returned especially considering how many people were taking them directly back to the bank for deposit.
Would the US Mint restart their campaign to reintroduce dollar coins into circulation? Probably not, especially with free shipping. But for frequent fliers, a return to the $1 coin wouldn’t be a bad thing as we have a financial motivation to introduce coins into circulation.
If you wish, you can vote in the Wall Street Journal’s poll for Yes you are in favor or No you are not. Currently 60% of people are in favor of $1 coins in their poll.
Just got this email in the mail – it’s a sad day but one that was expected given all the recent publicity from NPR, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal previously. Sad, sad, day.
Dear United States Mint Direct Ship Customer:
The United States Mint has eliminated the credit and debit card purchase of $1 Coins through its Direct Ship Program effective July 20, 2011. Customers who wish to purchase $1 coins through the Direct Ship Program can still do so by using a wire transfer, money order or check. Customers who wish to purchase the coins by wire transfer may fax their order to (202)756-6585. Customers interested in purchasing by money order or check may do so by submitting your request in writing to the following address:
United States Mint
PO Box 71192
Philadelphia, PA 19176-6192
Please download the order form which includes wire transfer information and follow the instructions provided on the form. http://www.usmint.gov/downloads/directShip/orderform.pdf
If you currently have an open $1 coin Direct Ship order placed with the United States Mint, that order will be cancelled. Please resubmit your order by wire transfer, check or money order using the order form. The Mint has determined that this policy change is prudent due to ongoing activity by individuals purchasing $1 coins with credit cards, accumulating frequent flyer miles, and then returning coins to local banks. Local banks, in turn, return coins to the Federal Reserve. While not illegal, this activity is a clear abuse and misuse of the program which was intended to facilitate the use of $1 coins in cash transactions.
The Mint has undertaken several aggressive internal and external actions to mitigate this issue, including restricting chronic and repeated use of credit cards, contacting customers who frequently placed large numbers of orders to ensure they were using the coins for legitimate business purchases, and other measures. While these efforts eliminated a significant amount of misuse in the program, we believe some abuse still exists. Eliminating the credit and debit card purchase of the $1 coin is the next step in our efforts to root out abuse in this program and ensure it is better targeted toward fulfilling its intended purpose – which is to get the $1 coin into greater circulation.
Thank you for your understanding and your continued support of the $1 Coin Program.
The United States Mint
Both Time magazine and NPR have recently done stories in regards to the nearly $1 billion in dollar coins sitting on the shelves of the Federal Reserve that according to them nobody wants. That number could quickly become $2 billion once the coins honoring the past presidents are done.
All of this is even more interesting considering that if you go to the US Mint’s online store, they currently only have 3 options available for order with two of them on backorder until July 5th?
I’ve been ordering from the US Mint for quite a while and actually try to put them into circulation – just ask my babysitters! The whole program however is decades too late to try and introduce coins into circulation as the majority of people have gone to a cashless society.
With $1 billion in storage, let’s all hope that the programs still runs for years and years to come.
As I presented in class last December, it has been possible to order dollar coins from the US Mint with free shipping in order to earn frequent flyer miles / hotel points.
I lost track, but have done easily over $80,000. I’m not trying to brag, as I was an amateur compared to some people, such as “Mr Pickles” who did $800,000.
But with the recent coverage by the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times, the gig is up.
I did try and spread the dollar coins throughout the city. Just ask my babysitter, people at fast food restaurants, and Costco.
It was fun while it lasted.