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How to Avoid Coinstar Coin-Counting Fees

Learn how to avoid coin-counting fees charged by Coinstar machines through other coin exchange options such as gift cards and charitable donations.

Coinstar
Coinstar machine

While some excellent modern products offering cash back have proliferated as a means of saving, there will always be the low-tech, tried and true method of dumping all of your loose change in a jar at the end of the day as a pretty easy way to save some dough.  But what do you do when you're ready to deposit your mountain of coins?

Are you ready to sit there for hours, packing your change into rollers, or would you rather feed it into a coin-counting machine, like Coinstar?

While Coinstar locations are convenient (located at 57,000 grocery and retail stores), there is a fee to count your change.

If you have a decent amount of change to unload, you need to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck.

Calculate Coinstar's Fee

Coinstar's fee is currently set at 11.9 percent of the value of the coins you're exchanging.

Basically:

That's nearly $12 for every $100 in coins you feed to the machine.

You'd have to guess how much change you have accumulated to calculate the Coinstar fee.

If you think you have $500, for example, you'd need to hand over $55, leaving you with $445.

That's a pretty big bite taken out right off the top, so why do people use these machines in the first place?

For one thing, they're convenient since fewer banks are accepting coin deposits these days.

Even if your bank is willing to take your coins off your hands, they may charge you a fee for processing them. (Some banks ship coins off-site to be counted, which means part of the cost gets passed on to the customer.)

For another, not everyone has the time or patience to sit around and fumble with those paper wrappers for hours on end.

Still, there's no denying that what Coinstar charges is pretty outrageous when you consider that they're basically just switching out money you already have.

It's kind of like paying $10,000 for a car that's only worth $9,000 -- the numbers just don't add up.

The good news is that there are some alternatives for cutting down on the fee or sidestepping it all together when you've got a big chunk of change to cash in.

1. Convert Your Coins Into Gift Cards for Free

If you've uncovered a small fortune in loose change under your couch cushions, Coinstar now gives you the option of exchanging your coins for electronic gift card vouchers for some of the most popular brands around.

You just put your change in, select the gift card you want and the machine prints out a receipt with a unique code that you can use the same way you would a physical gift card.

The best part:

There's no fee to convert your coins into electronic gift card vouchers.

Coinstar limits how much change you can swap out for a gift card so it pays to know what the limits are for each one.

We've highlighted five of the most popular picks, along with the minimum and maximum limits for each one:

Coinstar Gift cards Exchange Limits

Type Min. amount Max. amount
Amazon.com $5 $1,000
Applebee's $5 $500
Best Buy $5 $2,000
GameStop $5 $500
Home Depot $5 $2,000
iTunes $5 $500
Southwest $25 $500
Starbucks $5 $500
Steam $10 $100

2. Scope Out a Bank or Credit Union

Some banks offer free coin counter machines in their branches. If you're not a customer, you might have to pay a fee to have your coins counted.

The fee is usually a small percentage of the coins counted.

Most banks will also ask you to roll the coins yourself. You can request free coin wrappers from the teller.

After the coins are rolled, the bank will accept them for deposit.

Tip: The next time you're at the grocery store or cruising the aisles of Walmart, for instance, head to the self-checkout area and use your change to pay for your purchases.

If you're lucky enough to have a bank that offers a coin counting machine in its branches, you need to look at how the bank's fee compares to the one Coinstar is charging to see which is the better deal.

3. Make a Donation

Coinstar also allows you to donate your loose change to charity, which is a great way to give back.

There is no fee to process coins that are donated to charities.

Plus, the donations are tax deductible -- save the donation receipt for your tax records.

Partnered charities include:

  • American Red Cross
  • Children's Miracle Network Hospitals
  • Feeding America
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • The Humane Society of the United States
  • UNICEF
  • United Way
  • World Wildlife Fund

With Coinstar, the fact that it's convenient and you can write it off on your taxes are two pluses worth considering.

4. Roll the Coins Yourself

Most banks provide free coin rollers to customers who want to deposit large amounts of change.

Sure:

You'll still have to put in a little work to wrap the coins yourself, but it does eliminate the costly alternative of using Coinstar.

Or, you might have others do it for you for a small tip -- such as your kids!

The Bottom Line

When it comes to figuring out what to do with your change, be sure to factor in how long you think it would take you to roll those coins against the fees that Coinstar or your bank would charge.

After all, time is money!

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Ask a Question

disqus_rdvjAcwUhG
Sunday, 14 Mar 2021 1:57 PM
<p>So I currently have just under $30 in assorted coins, how much would I lose going to a coin star vs. a bank?</p>
Monday, 22 Jun 2020 8:37 PM
<p>After covid19, are coinstars still accepting change ?</p>
Tuesday, 07 Jan 2020 10:44 PM
<p>Tyronne is in the state Pen</p>
deeware
Friday, 06 Dec 2019 3:04 AM
<p>Arvest bank - Free for members/account holders! _LIKE A BOSS_</p>
deeware
Friday, 06 Dec 2019 3:03 AM
<p>Where are you located Tyrone I need some coins rolled bruh</p>
joules_katier
Sunday, 27 Oct 2019 3:14 AM
<p>that's what I do (use coinstar for nickels dimes &amp; pennies). then I use self checkout registers when paying for a purchase at stores in order to get rid of my quarters</p>
disqus_9lmz3XtuCe
Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 8:22 PM
<p>I just took some rolled coins to my credit union (Canvas Credit Union), and they were going to charge my $4.50 to recount them.</p>
Wednesday, 26 Jun 2019 6:08 AM
<p>Some dumb people on this thread</p>
Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 2:14 AM
<p>I Changed 179 dollars and the machine give me less than 130 dollars</p>
shawnmoody
Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 12:21 AM
<p>Any walmart self checkouts ive been to are debit and credit only</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 4:01 AM
<p>You got one one the few that do it for free for customers, my old savings back in some time ago say early 2000 charged 6% and would only accept rolled after they had opened to check and count as there are some folks who fill i said rolls to make it seems like it weighs or looks like a whole roll.</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 3:59 AM
<p>Most banks (unions as well) will not accept rolled and if they do they will just crack them open to check for attempted scamming but also look for valuable coins that are worth much more in face value. a wheat or steel penny are worth tens of thousands to the right buyer and seller. Some have said their bank has the Coinstar and charges nothing in fee for customers if not all users or for those who deposit into their account at that place.</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 3:56 AM
<p>Actually they still spit those and other rare US coins back out, as per their website information, I have not used a COinstr in at least 11 years and it was 6% of which that 11.9% is not for all locations. But as for valued coins, I recently checked for certain pennies which are thousands in value above face value.</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 3:54 AM
<p>Do not waste your time, as states most actually will just open up and sort and count before handing you money or depositing into an account if you have one, and some still charge a small fee, my old savings union charged 6% last I know.</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 3:53 AM
<p>It all depends on location as said in article whether the location allows or not since the establishment it is located at has say or the company COinstar itself discontinues or continues all depending on certain factors. But the places that have partnered and offer gift vouchers, those establishments the gift cards are good for at, the corporate is paying the fee but not charing you still for this fee.</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 3:47 AM
<p>Despite the artile poorly misleading as it is, not all locations charge 11.9% which is the most for fee, seeing as like akin to vending machines it is a partnership, and the fee goes to pay the establishment it is at as well as such to Loomis or other for security and sorting of the coins at that companies facility instead of Outerwall the owner of said convenence service building their own. BTW I sugges you check those coins and look up "US coin values" on google search. Oh and if there is one at a bank, then give the place a call and ask if there is a fee as some said their bank or union otherwise offers this convenience for usually no fee. The supposed fee for Donating is untrue and the donation is tax deductible. But do note if you use a sorter machine, get one that will sort out the valuable coins so you can get what they are really worth, Coinstar toes not take said valuable coins and return ones that the sorter optical sensors find much like the foreign coins.</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 3:41 AM
<p>Some are 11.9, most other are other percentages, depends of location they are at as the location partners with them much like you see vending machines are certain establishment locations, some h ave said their bank offers Coinstar for free to either for all users or just their customers. Also the supposed fee for donation is untrue but the donation is tax deductible.</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 3:37 AM
<p>According to some folks their institution has a Coinstar for free use only to their customers and a fee for others unless otherwise noted on the machine interface screen. And by the way, the fee varies on location and as much as mentioned in the article of 11.9%.</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 3:35 AM
<p>Some offer only one place, others offer all it depends what location you search for. for best options, also not all charge the 11.9% like the writer states which is partly false as they can not just place their machine at each location, its the location making the partnership with Coinstar and the fee is according to pay for maintenance and service such as Loomis, Brinks, etc for coin pickup and sorting at those companies facilities.. Also the donation fee is false since for you it is free and tax deductible. But like i said you have to use coinstars website or app and look up locations nearest you and look at each one to find out what e-card each offers and the company the card is good at is the one paying the fee for this convenience to use your money saved at their locations.</p>
Josh79Trucker
Saturday, 01 Sep 2018 3:30 AM
<p>First of you are a real reporter and I suggest this for the sanity of your viewers, but it is up to 11.9% as not all locations are the same rate, also not all locations offer the e-gift (those companies pay for your fee) or Donation to a charity which is limited selection as well but is also tax deductible and FREE for you but YOU do not pay the fee, if so then I suggest you check again on the screen or voucher, since like with food vending is a partnership deal, thus the FEE varies up to as you do mention.<br>Seriously when did reporting get so mis-informative!</p><p>Edit: also most banks do not or will not accpet rolls or take the roll without first opening to check if it s all whatever coin as some d try to make it look and feel like a complete roll using some sort of filler, But some certin banking institutions will also charge a small fee, for example my old savings union/bank charged me 6% of which I paid the same at two Coinstars. Plus if you do not check your coins, you could seriously loose out on some very highly valuable rare coins that could possibly be in there and thankfully Coinstar does not accept said coins as stated on their Help page under "coin sorting" doe the fact how rare and valuable those coins are compared to face value.</p>
disqus_wDlccByDaT
Wednesday, 08 Aug 2018 6:38 PM
<p>I just went to my nearest Coinstar and it appears they are only offering the Amazon e-gift card now. I went online to check for other locations and the website only lists Amazon. Really not happy about this.</p>
gmliang
Thursday, 02 Aug 2018 5:25 PM
<p>Investors Bank have coin machines and accept loose coin from customers only free of charge. No services for non customers.</p>
disqus_QDlzvKiKGi
Thursday, 05 Apr 2018 10:19 PM
<p>Wow you got some serious change. I had a five gallon jug 2/3 full it was 2,000 in change 1,000 in paper money. I had some crack heads move in next door and cashed it in at my exs bank for free. But now I've moved across country and looking for a new solution myself. Good luck👍🏼</p>
Thursday, 29 Mar 2018 2:28 PM
<p>Thanks for sharing. I didn't know about the gift card option. <br>Amazon is where I'm spending it anyway. 😁</p>
HonestTy
Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018 12:28 AM
<p>I found a solution to all my jars of change. Whenever I'd make small purchases at Walmart, say between $10 and $20., I went through the self-checkout and paid by depositing change into the coin receptacle. Within a few months all my change was gone, problem solved and didn't have to pay 11.9% to Coinstar. Won't let change build up to that extent again.</p>
disqus_pyHUF0fiBP
Monday, 26 Feb 2018 11:26 PM
<p>Mine does...but they aren't penny arcade, they are simply coin counting machines.</p>
disqus_pyHUF0fiBP
Monday, 26 Feb 2018 11:25 PM
<p>TD Bank has a coin counter for children and gives gifts if the child's guess is very close to actual amount. Yes, you have to be a member.</p>
disqus_5VQQAy9uKD
Thursday, 11 Jan 2018 2:24 PM
<p>I have a few years until I retire from the private sector, at that point I think I will contact my bank and see if they will take the change and put it through the coin machines they have in the back.</p>
disqus_5VQQAy9uKD
Thursday, 11 Jan 2018 2:23 PM
<p>I'm aware of that but none of the gift card choices are interesting to me.</p>
captainmatticuslpinc
Wednesday, 10 Jan 2018 7:23 PM
<p>Can I get your address?</p><p>Joking. I'm about in the same situation. I've been filling up mason jars and if I did my math correctly, I have about $300 in change so far, amounting to about 35 lbs, so far. I can only imagine what you're dealing with.</p>
maefrancesortiz
Friday, 15 Dec 2017 9:53 PM
<p>What bank is that ????</p>
sheranpoellnitz
Monday, 06 Nov 2017 9:41 PM
<p>You can purchase one of those coin counting machines that also roll them from Wal-Mart for about $10</p>
disqus_Fxea43pww0
Friday, 03 Nov 2017 3:39 PM
<p>I will wrap them for you but I charge 15 percent. See what a good deal coin star is?</p>
Sunday, 22 Oct 2017 5:07 PM
<p>You can get a gift card and not pay any fees.</p>
Monday, 25 Sep 2017 10:18 PM
<p>Coinstar is now 11.9%</p>
disqus_8PpH3InJXy
Tuesday, 12 Sep 2017 8:08 PM
<p>They used to spit back the coins. Interesting that the machine now keeps them.</p>
disqus_5VQQAy9uKD
Monday, 11 Sep 2017 5:52 PM
<p>I began saving my change over 10 years ago. It started when I bought a five gallon glass bottle from a thrift store and began tossing my coins in it, I bought another five gallon jar for pennies and it then became a goal to fill them up. I quit using change for purchases, I always pay in bills and at the end of the day I put the pennies in one jar and the silver in another. Since that time I have filled one five gallon jar with silver, the five gallon penny jar is about 3/5 full and another five gallon jar is about 2/3 full of silver. They are very difficult to move and my problem is none of my banks have coin counting machines and I sure don't want to use coinstar and wind up paying them a large fee.</p>
schrodie
Thursday, 31 Aug 2017 4:45 PM
<p>Not good for people with arthritic hands, visual impairments, or those who can't manipulate the paper coin rollers. Is there any option that won't rip off someone who is disabled?</p>
Monday, 24 Apr 2017 10:24 PM
<p>The coin star machine at my local Acme Supermarket (Foulk &amp; Naamans Rds, Wilmington,DE) will not let you put your money on a gift card</p>
disqus_UrYkTMQEDF
Monday, 06 Feb 2017 11:47 PM
<p>How about I JUST roll the Quarters! and cash in the $.10 $.05 $.01.....that can't be the much money!!</p>
Monday, 21 Nov 2016 7:51 PM
<p>You need to read the list of things not to put in before you hit accept. Those coins get stuck in the machine and can't be counted. It tells you not to put them in if you read what what the terms are before you accept. </p>
HonestTy
Thursday, 28 Jul 2016 2:24 AM
<p>I went to US Bank yesterday and the teller told me they only take rolled change. I'm willing to switch banks if can find one that will give me as one of their customers this consideration to deposit all legal tender.</p>
howbern
Wednesday, 27 Jul 2016 11:03 PM
<p>Do not deposit Eisenhower dollar coins. The Coinstar machine will swallow them and give you no credit. I learned this the hard way.</p>
DrConspiracy
Tuesday, 24 May 2016 11:34 PM
<p>TD Bank no longer has Penny Arcade machines.</p>
highinterest
Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 11:24 PM
<p>My bank removed its free coin counting machine, but they accept my rolled coin without complaint. I roll coins when I can't sleep, and take about 10 rolls at a time to the bank once in a while.</p>
Angelo_Frank
Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 2:12 PM
<p>Fortunately, my locally owned bank will process loose change free for account holders.</p>

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