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Will Arizona accept privately minted coins?

Arizona may soon approve a bill that allows privately minted coins to be used as legal tender, but that doesn't mean businesses and financial institutions should put away their coin counters just yet. Legislation that would redefine legal tender in the state has already been approved by Arizona's House of Representatives and needs just a final Senate vote before it heads to Governor Jan Brewer for approval. However, it's extremely unlikely most businesses would even accept the payments, especially in the early stages.

Arizona House approves the measure
The pending legislation would deem all currency made of gold or silver to be an acceptable payment within the state. This includes coins minted by private mints and gold and silver coins released by the federal government. No business would be forced to accept privately minted coins as payment, and retailers could require their customers to pay with traditional American money.

The measure comes as more individuals and state and local governments become concerned about the value of American currency, especially as fears of hyperinflation abound. The dollar has struggled in recent years as the future of the economy has remained uncertain, which has made gold and silver attractive options for many investors. In fact, expanding the definition of legal tender has made headway in several other states concerned about the issue, with Utah recently passing similar legislation.

How will businesses, banks and consumers react?
While opinions on the legislation are mixed, it won't take effect immediately even if it is passed by the state Senate and signed by the governor. Lawmakers have said that even if the measure is approved, it will be months before the state can ensure all the potential problems and questions are worked out, ensuring those who wish to partake will have a smooth transition.

Even when all the necessary adjustments are made, it's unclear whether locals will show support for the measure by using other forms of currency. In fact, many lawmakers have openly acknowledged the bill's approval probably won't lead to the majority of Arizona residents paying for their purchases with gold or silver coins. This means most individuals will still likely be using the same currency they use today, so banks, credit unions and businesses will still need the right coin counters to effectively manage the traditional payments they receive.

April 16, 2013