A coin-counting machine makes quick work of tallying your pile of pennies — or whatever types of coins you have. And if you’re ready to cash your change in, Coinstar may be the easiest way. However, you will have to give up part of your coins for the convenience.
- What Is Coinstar?
- How Do I Use a Coinstar Machine?
- Where Is There a Coinstar Near Me?
- How Much Does It Cost To Use Coinstar?
- Where Can I Change My Coins for Cash for Free?
- What Banks Have a Free Coin Counting Machine?
- How To Use the Small Change Method To Grow Your Rainy Day Fund
Coinstar is a service that helps you cash in your small change by counting it and paying you the value, minus a fee. The company describes it best: “Turn your coins into cash.”
How Does Coinstar Work?
Coinstar has green kiosks located at supermarkets and retail stores nationwide. All you need to do is dump your change into the machine. Once you do, the kiosk will complete the hard work by sorting and counting out and displaying the total value of your coins. You can cash out the coins in three ways:
- As cash
- As an eGift Card that can be redeemed at 21 retailers and restaurants
- As a donation to a charity of your choice
Using a Coinstar machine is pretty simple. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Locate a Coinstar coin machine.
- Follow the prompts on the touch screen to get started.
- Choose a payment method: cash, eGift card or donation.
- Accept the terms and conditions, which include the fees Coinstar will charge you.
- Dump your clean, dry change into the machine’s tray and make sure you remove any debris that may jam the machine.
- Lift the handle to tilt the basket so the coins fall into the slot.
- Check for rejected coins in the bottom slot while you watch the machine count and display your dollar amount.
- Resubmit the rejected change.
- Once the machine is done, it will print out a voucher you can exchange for cash at the register or will include a unique code you can use to pay at select online/retail stores and restaurants.
You may find Coinstar kiosks at major grocery stores and retailers nationwide including:
- Food 4 Less
- Harris Teeter
- Tom Thumb
If you’d like cash, there is an 11.9% fee, which may vary according to the kiosk location. There is no fee to use Coinstar if you choose to donate the funds or receive an eGift Card. The eGift Card can only be redeemed at 21 retailers and restaurants:
- AMC Theaters
- Chili’s Grill and Bar
- Chuck E. Cheese
- Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta stores
- Regal Theaters
- Southwest Airlines
- The Home Depot
Paying an 11.9% fee to trade your coins into cash can be steep. That’s almost $12 when you cash in $100 worth of change. If you have the time to sort your change and place it in paper wrappers to make coin rolls, you can trade in your coins for cash for free at your bank. Some banks may even throw in the paper coin rolls.
Most banks used to have coin counters for customer use. But over time, the machines disappeared. Few banks have coin counters available anymore, and in most cases, they are only for customer use. Check out these banks and credit unions that offer coin counters:
- American Eagle Credit Union: Free for customers, 10% for noncustomers
- Apple River State Bank: Free for customers
- First County Bank: Free for customers
- Glenview State Bank: Free for customers
- Hancock County Savings Bank: Free for customers
- JBT Bank: Free for customers, 5% for noncustomers
- Manasquan Bank: Free for customers
- People’s United Bank: Free for customers
- Shelby Savings Bank: Free for customers
- State Bank of Dekalb: Free for customers
- TCF Bank: Free for customers, 10% for noncustomers
- Westerra Credit Union: Free for customers
Related: Best Credit Unions of 2020
If you’ve traded in your coins for cash before, you’ve probably noticed that collecting small change can add up fast. Why not try using the method to grow your rainy day fund?
Designate a large bowl or jar as your “piggy bank.” Every time you pay for something and receive change, drop the coins into the bowl. Once you feel you’re ready, cash in your coins and deposit them in your savings account.
Click through to read more on effective ways to trick yourself into saving money.
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