Americans throw away $62 million in coins each year!
That’s crazy, right?
In fact, I have a whole jar of it, and lately, I’ve been thinking, you know what, I really need to cash in those coins. They’re literally just sitting in a jar gathering dust!
Most grocery stores have one of those coin counting machines. My local grocery store has a Coinstar machine right by the checkouts so I was like I’ll just take them there. It’s way easier than heading to my bank when it’s actually open!
Then, I thought, what about fees? While Coinstar machines are convenient, they aren’t always cheap.
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So, how much does Coinstar charge exactly?
Well, that’s what today’s post is all about.
Before taking my coins to my local Coinstar kiosk, I researched fees so I’d know what to expect and I also researched ways to avoid fees. So, I’ll be sharing details on that in the post below.
What will I learn?
How Much Does Coinstar Charge?
With Coinstar kiosks, you can exchange coins for cash. It’s convenient, but you need to pay a fee.
If you exchange coins for cash, Coinstar charges an 11.9% coin processing fee.
This means that if you have $10 worth of coins, you’d get $8.81 and pay $1.19 in fees.
Fees may vary by location though.
How to Avoid Coinstar Fees
Okay, so is there a way to avoid Coinstar fees? After all, the point of cashing in your coins is to get extra money, not to lose cash, right?
Well, I did some research before cashing in my coins and found that there are a few ways that you can avoid paying fees at Coinstar. These are pretty simple tips, so give them a try!
Get a gift card instead
The best way to avoid paying Coinstar fees is to exchange your coins for gift cards rather than cash.
Now, I know that many people prefer cash over gift cards. After all, cash can be used anywhere for whatever you want.
Gift cards can be good though and what’s great about Coinstar is that it offers them for lots of different retailers.
Coinstar offers gift cards for more than 20 stores and restaurants.
- Amazon .com
- Outback Steakhouse
- Razer Gold
- Red Robin
- Texas Roadhouse
- The Home Depot
Not all eGift cards are available at every kiosk. Have a look at your local machine to see what’s available.
So, if you want to avoid fees, then try an eGift card. You can get a paper eGift card voucher that has a unique gift card code printed on the top. This works just like a plastic gift card.
So, you can use your code when you shop at the retail store or restaurant or when you’re shopping online.
If you don’t use the full balance, you should save your eGift card for your next purchase.
You can even check your gift card balance. Simply visit the retailer’s website, call its customer service department, or visit one of its stores.
Donate your coins to charity
If you really just want to get the coins out of your house and aren’t too bothered about the money, you may want to consider donating your cash to charity.
Of course, if you’re looking to avoid Coinstar fees because you want to get more cash, then the charity donation option likely isn’t for you so give it a miss and try the other tips in this section instead.
If you do want to donate to charity though, this is a good option because you don’t have to pay any fees.
While you don’t pay a fee, Coinstar does retain a 10% processing fee from your donation amount for national charities and a 7.5% processing fee for regional charities.
You can donate to charities such as the American Red Cross, UNICEF, and Feeding America.
You can find out more about the charities you can donate to at Coinstar here.
Charity donations are tax deductible. You will need to save the donation receipt for your records.
Head on over to your bank
Okay, so what if you want cash for your coins and not gift cards? In that case, I would say that you are best skipping Coinstar machines altogether.
The only way to use Coinstar kiosks without paying a fee is to get a gift card. And gift cards simply don’t work for everybody.
Your other option is to donate the money to charity but then you get no money at all, and since many people are exchanging coins because they want some extra cash, then the charity option isn’t great.
So, one of your best options if you actually want cash for your coins without having to pay fees is to go to your bank.
Many banks have coin counting machines. Some banks don’t provide coin counting machines, but they will accept rolled coins for cash.
In that case, you will need to count and roll the coins yourself. Still though, you’re getting bills for your coins.
What’s great about banks is that members can have their coins exchanged for free. Non-members will usually need to pay a fee though.
So, give your bank a call to see if you can cash in your coins there. If you are an account holder, they will usually provide a coin exchange service for free.
Here are some banks where you can exchange coins for cash for free if you’re a customer:
- Bank of America
- Cape Bank
- Capital One
- First County Bank
- Hancock County Savings Bank
- Home State Bank
- Manasquan Bank
- People’s United Bank
- PNC Bank
- Republic Bank (NJ/PA)
- Shelby Savings Bank
- TD Bank
How Does Coinstar Work?
Now you know much Coinstar charges and how to avoid paying fees. In this section, I’ll cover a little bit about how Coinstar works.
- You head on over to your local Coinstar kiosk and put your coins into the machine. Lif the handle and guide your coins into the slot.
- Make sure that your coins are clean and dry and that you have removed any dirt, debris, and other objects that might jam the coin tray or interfere with the counting process.
- You can choose from three payment options, including cash, eGift card, or charity donation.
- Check the return tray for any rejected coins. When all of your coins have been counted, you will receive a paper voucher for cash, or an eGift Card, which has a unique code printed at the top. If you chose to donate your coins to charity, you will receive a receipt for your donation.
- If you chose the cash option, then you will need to take your voucher to the cashier. You need to ensure that you redeem your cash voucher on the same day that it was issued.
- If you chose the eGift Card option, then you can use the unique code printed at the top of the voucher anytime to shop at the retail store, restaurant, or online.
- If you donated your coins, you can keep the receipt for your records. The donation is tax deductible.
It’s really easy to use Coinstar machines. The most annoying thing I’ve found is actually sorting through my coins. I had accidentally mixed in some Euros into my coin jar, so I had to separate those out. Make sure that you don’t have any foreign currency coins in your collection.
The Coinstar machines do have a return tray that gives you back any rejected coins, so even if a few foreign currency coins do get through, it’s not a big deal.
It doesn’t take too long to take your coins to a Coinstar machine. You don’t even need to roll your coins either, which is a great time-saver.
Basically, you just put them all into the try. The more coins you have, the longer it will take to load them into the machine, but it’s still a pretty quick process, as Coinstar machines count coins pretty fast.
Sometimes you might find that someone is already using the machine, but the process doesn’t take too long, so you shouldn’t be waiting too long. There’s usually no one using the Coinstar machine at my local grocery store, so I don’t know if I’m just lucky with not having to wait, but I imagine many stores are like that.
How to Find Coinstar Machine Near You
Okay, so how do you find a Coinstar machine near you? Well, it’s actually pretty easy!
You can simply go to the Coinstar kiosk finder. Then enter your zip code or city, and it’ll show you the stores near you that have a Coinstar kiosk.
It’s that simple! So, find a kiosk near you and exchange your coins for cash that you can actually use!
Coinstar machines are so useful, right?
I mean most of us have loose change that’s just sitting around gathering dust and that’s real cash that you could actually be putting towards something useful. So, don’t let your coins go to waste. Cash them in instead!
Coinstar machines are a good option because they can be found at many grocery stores and they’re so easy to use. The only issue is those fees. So many people looking to use one of the company’s kiosks wonder “How much does Coinstar charge?”
And this is a totally valid question because you want to know how much of a fee you’re going to pay.
Hopefully, this post has helped you to understand Coinstar fees and how to avoid them.
Also, remember that Coinstar machines are not your only option if you’re looking to cash in your coins. You can also take your coins to your bank. Many banks will actually cash them for free if you’re a member. So, the bank is definitely a worthwhile option.
Having said that, Coinstar is honestly much more convenient. The store near me has way longer opening hours than my local bank branch does. So, I find it easier to just head to the store with my coins.
So, cash in your coins and get money you will actually use or opt for a gift card and avoid those Coinstar fees altogether!