Why Do We Still Need Coins?

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Coins are an important part of currency and economies worldwide and have been used to pay for goods and services for thousands of years. The durability and convenience of coins cannot be matched by paper money, according to the Washington Post.

Paper money is quick and efficient to produce, distribute and spend. Paper bills are actually made out of cotton, because cotton is more durable and lasts longer than simple paper. Printing and using paper money is initially much cheaper than using coins, because the required materials are much more inexpensive. Coins are made out of metals, which cost more to extract and mint. Another big difference between coins and paper bills is that bills are lighter, which makes paper money more efficient than coins to ship and carry.

Though it seems like paper money is the answer to all currency issues, coins are necessary. Coins have a long lifespan; they can be used for decades before they are melted down to make new coins. Paper currency, on the other hand, tears and disintegrates easily and must be replaced more frequently than coins. This requires continuous printing of paper money. The Government Accounting Office estimates that eliminating $1 bills and replacing them with $1 coins would save $4.4 billion over a 30-year period.