If you’re trying to get rid of some coins, you’re probably asking yourself, “How much does Coinstar charge?”
In this article, we cover how the machine works, alternatives and ultimately how to avoid their fees.
Table of Contents
What Is Coinstar
Coins are an inevitable byproduct of using cash for your everyday payments.
While everyone has wallets or purses that they can keep cash in, holding onto coins has always been a nuisance.
So what do most people do?
Throw them in a jar, the cup holder in your car, or in a piggy bank, then what?
There is going to be a time where you are going to need to cash these coins in.
Whether it be a rainy day, you need to clean out your car, or you simply want a little extra cash.
While you could take the coins with you, it can be quite the burden.
The only reasonable solution is to have the coins exchanged for cash.
There are a few ways to do this ranging from a few minutes of your time to more time consuming methods.
The first is going to be Coinstar.
You may have seen a coinstar machine at your local grocery store.
These machines accept coins and allow you to exchange them for cash.
They have been in business since 1992, processing more than 43 billion coins.
However, when using Coinstar, you will have to pay a fee when cashing out.
While this may be understood as they have to make money as well, it can be a little annoying.
There are ways to get around the fees and alternatives to Coinstar for cashing in your change.
Today, we are going to look at what Coinstar is exactly and how you can avoid their fees.
How Does Coinstar Work?
Using a Coinstar machine is quite simple.
The hardest part of the process is having to carry all of your coins to the actual machine.
This is easy if you only have a single jar, but for those with larger coin collections, you may need a cart.
I have seen many people take full shopping carts of coins to the machines over the years.
I would also suggest setting aside a little time if you have a lot of coins to cash.
Coinstar is very quick, but if you have a large stash, it is going to take a little while.
Not to mention, most stores only have one machine.
This can result in having to wait in line if someone is using the machine.This is where a cart can be a huge help.
Looking at the Coinstar machine, you will notice a metal hinged tray with holes in it.
This is where you will dump your coins a little at a time and slide them into the machine.
The tray will hold a couple of cups worth of coins.
Lift the tray to allow the coins to slide into the machine.
This will need to be done slowly as the opening only allows for a certain amount of coins to drop in at a time.
You may have to move some coins around to ensure they all go in without jamming.
The Coinstar machine has a touchscreen that will display the current amount of change that it has counted.
This does have a delay to it, so you may need to wait until it catches up before cashing out.
Once all of your coins have been deposited, you will need to listen to ensure that the machine has stopped counting.
The machine will alert you once it has finished counting.
Before beginning the cash out process, you will need to check the coin return slot to see if any coins did not make it through.
This is there for coins it does not recognize such as foreign currencies or game tokens.
Once you have confirmed that all of your coins have been deposited, you can start the checkout process.
The checkout process will allow you to choose from various options which range from donating them, cashing out, or trading for a gift card.
Each has their pros and cons, but for most people, they will simply cash out.
Cashing out usually means that you will receive a paper voucher with the payout amount.
You can redeem this at the stores’ customer service desk to get paid.
Do I Need To Sort Or Roll My Coins?
The best thing about Coinstar is that there is no sorting or rolling needed.
Sorting your coins refers to putting all of the like coins together.
Rolling them refers to what banks do when they package them up in paper coin rolls for easy distribution.
Neither is required with Coinstar.
You can bring your loose coins in any container you would like.
Simply pour the coins into the machine and Coinstar does all of the sorting.
Taking the time to roll them before bringing them to Coinstar will just mean that you will have to spend more time unrolling them at the machine.
While this makes transporting easy, it can be a pain and quite messy in the store.
My suggestion is to collect your coins in a sturdy plastic jar.
This makes it easy to transport, it is reusable, and if dropped, it will not break.
It also makes it easy to pour your coins into the machine when it’s time to cash them out.
Where Can I Find A Coinstar Near Me?
Coinstar machines can be found all over the world in most large grocery stores.
Coinstar reports that 90% of the US population lives within 5 miles of a Coinstar Kiosk.
The next time you are in your favorite grocery store, look toward the customer service area.
This is where the majority of Coinstar machines are found.
Chances are you have been walking right past a kiosk during your weekly grocery runs and not even know it.
You can always call around to local stores as well to find out if they have a kiosk available.
This is a great way to ensure that it is in working order as well and what type of kiosk is available.
We will get into the different upgraded kiosks available later.
The last thing you want to do is haul all of your change to a machine just to find out it is out of order.
You can also use the Coinstar website to find a Coinstar kiosk near you.
Is Coinstar Free?
The most discussed topic about using Coinstar is “is it free”?
After all, you are simply using it to exchange your coins for cash, so you want to find a way to save money.
There are a few different ways to look at this with the first being the most used solution – getting a cash voucher.
Getting a cash voucher is simply using the Coinstar machine to count your coins and exchange them for cash.
This is much like using an ATM for getting cash out of your account, so there will be a fee.
You can also use your coins to exchange for a gift card to over 20 popular restaurants or retail stores.
Lastly, you can choose to donate your coins to charity.What you do with your coins is up to you, but some choices may come with a fee for their convenience.
How Much Does Coinstar Charge? (Fees & More)
If you are choosing to cash out your coins for cash, that will come with a fee.
This is advertised as a processing fee which is the way Coinstar makes its money.
Choosing this route will take 11.9% from your total as the processing fee.
While many people are not bothered by this amount, those with larger amounts of coins can really feel the pinch.
For example, if you are cashing in $100, you are going to be charged $11.90 for the transaction.
Coinstar does say that fees can vary by location.
To ensure you understand your specific store’s fee, it is best to check with your store or Coinstar to verify.
Can I Avoid The Fees?
While cashing in coins will require a fee, there are ways to avoid the fees.
If you are looking to cash in a large amount of coins, that fee is going to hit hard.
Even if it is a smaller amount, it is still your money that you are not getting.
So why not get the full amount?
When using a Coinstar machine, there is no way to get cash without a fee.
There is no way around this, sadly.
However, you can choose the gift card option to avoid having to pay fees.
How this works is when you go to the cashout process, you can simply choose a gift card instead of cash.
Coinstar currently partners up with more than 20 popular stores and restaurants to choose from.
This allows you to apply your full amount to a gift card instead of cashing out.
While you may be wondering why this would be any different, it’s all business.
The fee that they would normally charge you for cash gets passed on to the business that you will be shopping with.
This fee is a small price a company will pay to get you in their door or on their site to turn you into a customer.
More than likely, they will recoup that fee eventually, so it’s a win-win.
This is going to be your best bet if you are wanting to get all of your money without being charged a fee.
Donating The Coins To Charity
Another less popular, but fee free way of cashing in your coins is to donate them to charity.
When cashing out your coins at a coinstar machine, you will notice the option to donate to charity.
Coinstar lists out a variety of charities to donate to through their machines, including the American Red Cross.
The best thing about this option is that it is tax deductible.You will simply just need to save the donation receipts for your records.
Any donations through Coinstar are done fee free.
This is usually one of the least used ways that people utilize Coinstar.
Not because people do not want to donate, but because it is a time and energy invested task.
Most who are willing to load up their coins and take them to a machine are going to want cash or gift cards.
Nevertheless, Coinstar does give you this option and it is great for those who want to go this route.
Taking Your Coins To A Bank
If you are looking to get all of your cash for your coins, Coinstar may not be the way to go.You can use a tried and true way of cashing your coins that people have been using for years.
That process includes taking your coins to a bank.While this is not as convenient as taking it to a Coinstar machine, this is one of the ways to cash your coins with no fees.
However, this can’t always be done at any bank.
Many banks will require that you currently bank with them to take advantage of their coin cashing amenities.
This may require a little leg work on calling your bank or banks in your area to see if they allow free coin cashing.
This is also a great time to ask them if there are any requirements on bringing in coins to have them cashed.
Many banks will require that the coins be loose or rolled before bringing them in.
Banks that have coin counting machines usually want them loose as this minimizes time used to count the coins.
Some banks may want them rolled for easy weighing.
Either way, this is one quick and easy way for you to get your coins counted and cashed in.
Can I Use Coinstar For My Small Business?
One frequently asked question that people have with Coinstar is the availability of using the machines for their small business.
Small businesses have a need for cashing in their change from their registers.
Taking this to a bank can be time consuming.
Using Coinstar can be convenient, especially if you are already out buying supplies for your business.
Coinstar states on their site that their machines can be used for small businesses.
This is a great help for those who need to quickly exchange coins for cash and are not worried about the fee.
This is also great for businesses who want to use their change to make a charitable donation.
Buying Bitcoin At Coinstar
With technology advancing every day, it is important for services like Coinstar to keep up with consumer demand.
However, you may be thinking, what could a coin machine possibly do to become more advanced?
Coinstar has recently rolled out a new service with the popular service Coinme.
Coinme is a cryptocurrency exchange site designed to help consumers buy and sell popular cryptocurrency.
Coinstar has teamed up with Coinme to allow you to buy Bitcoin at their kiosks.
Bitcoin is the most popular form of cryptocurrency and is widely accepted across different industries.
The best part is, you do not have to use your coins to purchase the bitcoin.
In fact, you cannot use coins to purchase Bitcoin, only cash.
First, you must locate a Coinstar kiosk that is Coinme partnered.
Next, you will simply select Buy Bitcoin, accept the transaction terms, and enter your phone number.
Next, you will insert your cash (up to $2500 USD) into the cash acceptor.
Then you will receive a voucher with a Bitcoin redemption code.
You can then log in to coinme.com/redeem to create an account and claim your Bitcoin.
Cyrptocurrency enabled machines are rolling out daily across the nation, so if your store does not have one now, check back frequently to find one.
AmazonCash At Coinstar
It is no secret that Amazon is the leading retail giant.
They are at the forefront of developing new and exciting technologies, including their own way to pay for transactions.
This service is known as AmazonCash.
Coinstar has partnered up with Amazon to allow their Kiosks to serve AmazonCash users.
New Coinstar machines are being placed all over the US that will allow you to add cash to your Amazon balance using AmazonCash.
This is just another way that Coinstar is making their machines more valuable to their consumer base.
Coinstar Pros & Cons
So now that you know just about everything you need to know about Coinstar, let’s look at the pros and cons.
One of the biggest pros of using Coinstar is it’s convenience.
With many banks now needing coins rolled up to be exchanged, Coinstar prevails.
You can simply dump your load of coins into the machine and get your cash or gift cards.While you will still have to cash in the cash voucher you receive, this is done quickly at a customer service center.
This makes using Coinstar one of the quickest ways to cash in your coins.
However, for those who save their coins by rolling them as they collect them, it may not be the most convenient.
Coinstar is known for being fast.
Considering that there is not a line at the machine, the process is much quicker than using a bank.
Whether you have a jar full of coins or several water jugs full, using Coinstar is the fastest way to get cash now.
When using a bank, you will have to find a bank that exchanges them, ensure that you don’t have to be a member, and make sure they do not charge too much.
This can eat up your time and make it much more time consuming to get your cash.
Easy To Get Gift Cards
If you are going to use your coins to purchase a gift card, Coinstar is an easy way to do it.
While there are many ways to get free gift cards, exchanging your coins for a gift card through Coinstar is fee free.This is one way you can get the full amount of your coins and avoid the Coinstar cash fees.Since Coinstar works with many different retailers, you can easily find a gift card that you can use or give as a gift.
Instead of exchanging your coins for cash, then going to buy a gift card, you can simply choose the “get gift card” option through Coinstar.
Takes A Percentage For Cash
With the premise of this whole article being how to avoid the Coinstar fees, this is going to be the biggest drawback.
When choosing the cash option, you are going to have to pay a fee.
This means that the total you may have had in mind is going to be cut by your location’s processing fee.
Of course, we have looked at various ways that you can avoid this in this article, so hopefully you have found a way to do so.
Inside Other Stores
Another drawback to using Coinstar is the fact that they are found inside other stores.
Large stores such as Sams, Walmart, and other grocery stores around the nation house the Coinstar machines.
This means that you will have to lug your coins into the store to access the machines.
This isn’t too bad as you can utilize the store’s services to cash out your voucher.
However, you are at the mercy of the store’s hours to get it done.
Limited Free Options
Much like the cash fee, another big downfall is going to be the limited free options available.
The only free options are going to be getting a gift card and donating it to charity.
If you are wanting cash in your hand and not a gift card, you are out of luck if you are unwilling to pay the fee.
With Coinstar being the only real self-serve change counting machine on the market, you don’t have many choices to choose from.
You are basically left with being ok with the fee, getting a fee free gift card, or donating it to charity.
I hope that this article has helped you figure out how you can avoid the fees from Coinstar.At the very least, I hope that you got a better understanding of what Coinstar is and how it works.
If you have any other comments to add as to how much does Coinstar charge, let us know in the comments below!