Facts About The Dollar Coin

Taxpayer Savings


Billions in taxpayer savings: In ten separate reports over 23 years (in 1990199319952000 2011, 2/2012, 2/2012, 11/2012, 3/2013 and 10/2013) the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office has recommended switching to the dollar coin in order to save the American taxpayer billions of dollars. In 2012, the GAO reported that the switch would save the government a minimum of $150 million per year, or $4.4 billion over a 30-year period. Previous studies have put the savings as high as half a billion dollars per year.

Taxpayer support: Two-Thirds of Americans support replacing the dollar bill with the dollar coin when informed of the potential government savings.

International currency: Other major countries have benefited from replacing small denomination bills with coins. The smallest denomination bill in the EU is €5 (~$6.40); in Japan, ¥1000 (~$11.27); and in Canada, C$5 (~$4.00).

Environmentally Conscious


Coins are Recyclable: Coins are 100% recyclable. Scrap metal from the production process, as well as coins that become too worn for circulation, are melted and reformed into strip metal for minting new coins.

Less Waste: Each year approximately 3.2 billion $1 bills are removed from circulation due to wear and tear. Most of these bills are shredded and most are deposited in landfills; that’s close to 7 million pounds of needless waste, enough to fill 900 dump trucks.

More effective use of resources: Dollar coins have a lifespan of 35 years or more, while $1 notes last between 2 and 4 years. This means that, over the course of its lifetime, a single $1 coin produced for about 18 cents could replace up to 17 dollar bills produced for as much as $1.00.

International Standardization


Standardization: Other countries have already recognized the cost savings and benefits of the dollar coin, including Canada, the European Union and Japan.

Cost Savings: In Canada, the federal government experienced cost savings ten times their initial estimate. (See page 6/7 of GAO report here)

Denomination Size: The United States has one of the smallest denominations of paper currency among the major economies of the world (G-8 Countries). The average value of lowest denomination paper currency among other G-8 countries is $6.76. (See chart below)

Improved Commerce


Private sector savings: The private sector experiences even greater cost savings and increased revenues from $1 coins. Jammed $1 bills in vending machines cost the industry hundreds of millions in annual repair costs and lost sales. Evidence from the transit industry indicates that it is six times less expensive for businesses with high levels of cash transactions to process $1 coins versus $1 bills.

Consumer ease: One $1 coin is lighter to carry than four quarters and is easier to use in vending machines, parking meters, Laundromats, transit fare machines, and other coin operated equipment. Four quarters weigh nearly three times more than a $1 coin (23g vs. 8.1g).  According to the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), all vending machines manufactured in the last 20 years are equipped to accept $1 coins. And a 2007 survey showed that nearly all vending machines on federal property accept $1 coins.

Increased accessibility for sight impaired: Current $1 coins were specifically designed to be more accessible to the blind and visually impaired. One dollar coins are tactilely different from other coins and thus distinguishable by touch. The $1 bill cannot be distinguished by visually impaired persons without costly assistive technology.

Table: Cost savings and benefits of the dollar coin by country

G-8 Country Highest Widely Circulated Coin US Value Lowest Bill US Value
Canada 2 Dollar $2.02 5 Dollar $5.05
France 2 Euro $2.63 5 Euro $6.57
Germany 2 Euro $2.63 5 Euro $6.57
Italy 2 Euro $2.63 5 Euro $6.57
Japan 500 Yen $6.18 1,000 Yen $12.37
Russia 10 Ruble $0.34 50 Ruble $1.70
United Kingdom 2 Pound $3.19 5 Pound $7.97
AVERAGE $2.87 $6.73
United States 25 Cents $0.25 1 Dollar $1.00