Coin Counting Machines: How to Get Free Coin Counting

Published 4/14/08 (Modified 6/17/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

I have two small piggy banks that sit atop my office desk at home. One is a coin bank in the shape of a dog, and the other is shaped like a light blue colored pig that I received as a free giveaway when I opened a new Citibank business checking account not too long ago. These two little guys are the gatekeepers to the spare change that I occasionally bring back in my pockets. Everytime I come home with loose coins, I usually drop them into my piggy banks. Since I use reward credit cards for the vast majority of my purchases, I don't usually bring home too many bits of spare change. However, over a period of months and a year, even the occasional chipping in can turn a small stash into a tidy sum.

How To Handle Quarters, Dimes, Nickels, and Pennies

Before Coinstar came along with their green coin sorting kiosk machines, I had no convenient way of getting rid of my spare change, especially the nickels, dimes, and pennies. Quarters I could always keep around to use for coin operated laundry washers and dryers, snack vending machines, and leave a few in my car for parking meters and toll booths. But nickels and pennies are pretty much useless since their small denominational value require many more of them to be carried around to be worth anything. Initially I tried hauling my jar of pennies, nickels, and dimes to my local bank branch to have them exchanged for paper bills. However, the bank teller usually responded by handing me a few empty orange paper coin rolls, instructing me to roll the spare coins up myself before handing them over. The process was tedious and inconvenient, and eventually I gave that method up.

Coinstar Coin Counting Machines At Your Local Supermarket Are Free If You Redeem For Gift Cards Instead Of Cash

When Coinstar came along and started placing their coin sorting machines at various supermarket locations, I was delighted to finally have a hassle free way of getting rid of my useless spare change. All you had to do was pour your loose change into a metal sorting compartment and wait for the machine to sort through your deposit. After a few noisy minutes of coins rattling and falling into the hopper, your contribution would be automatically tallied up. A paper receipt would pop out, listing your total balance for you to redeem at the checkout register. The whole process was easy, effortless, and rather entertaining, in a Las Vegas casino slot machine sort of way. Like driving my vehicle through a car wash, watching the digital coin counter tick away the numbers up the money count was always amusing to me (but then I'm an easily amused person). In the spirit of slot machines, I've always thought the green Coin Star machines would be able to attract more customers if they'd only install more bells and whistles that would light up while the coins were being counted.

The biggest drawback of using Coinstar and the myriad of imitation coin sorting kiosk services has always been the service fee that the machines usually charged and deducted from your total tally. Prices vary among different services, but Coinstar charges a fee of exactly 8.9%. That's a pretty cumbersome fee deterrent for those who need this sort of service.

The good part is that Coinstar now offers a better way to redeem your coins for free. To get hassle free coin counting, all you have to do now is select the gift card payment option instead of cash. The gift card option is available for a variety of popular retailers including Amazon.com (my favorite choice), iTunes, Starbucks, Circuit City, J.C. Penny, Linens and Things, Pier 1, Borders, AMC, Old Navy, and more. If you choose the gift card redemption method, Coin Star will waive the machine transaction charge and you'll get the service for free.

Some Banks Now Have Free Coin Sorting Kiosks For Customers and Non Customers Alike To Use

One of the local banks in my area has been offering free coin machines for some time now. At Chevy Chase Bank, a regional bank with a heavy presence in the Washington DC metro area of Maryland and Virginia, they offer complimentary Change Express coin machines for customers and non customers alike to use. There is no fee to use the coin counters, but you'll have to wait in line for a bank teller to redeem your money.

For those who live in New Jersey and the surrounding states, Commerce Bank (Commerce Bankcorp was recently acquired by TD Bank), also offers its own free coin machine called Penny Arcade, available to both customers and non customers. This nice perk seems like a growing trend among local banks and credit unions as more and more of them do away with the 3% or more coin machine fees of the past.

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15 Responses to “Coin Counting Machines | Free Coin Counting | Money Blue Book” 

  1. Patricia says:

    I just went to my local Chevy Chase (Vienna, VA) and they now impose a $5.00 limit for non-customers...anything above $5.00 costs $3.00 (!) up to $100 cost 10%...so no more free coin counting there. Not sure if they instituted this branch wide.

  2. Raymond says:

    Geez that sucks if true...I'll have to verify this over in Maryland where I live the next time I stop by Chevy Chase Bank. Thanks for the update tip!

  3. jb says:

    its lik that at my chevy chase too, in capitol hill. it used to be free, now its expensive. forget that!

  4. Jen says:

    Yup, the fee for Change Express for non-customers is at all branches. Up to $100 the fee is $3, after that, it's 10%.

  5. DRI says:

    Yea....The fee for non-customers is at all CC branches. I'm just trying to convert four mason jars of change I've collected the past few years to cash so I can drop it in my savings acct with BOA. After reading above that CC "offers complimentary Change Express coin machines for customers and non customers alike to use" (info needs to be updated - its incorrect). I wonder if BOA is going to get these things? Any idea?

  6. Rima says:

    Anyone know of a coinstar machine in Bellevue, Federal, Tacoma areas that don't charge a 10% fee?

  7. James says:

    TD Bank did the trick for me. As a bonus, even though I live out in the middle of no where in rural New Hampshire, I was able to find a local bank open on Sunday to help me out.

    Such great service, over the next month or two, I'm going to move my local banking to TD Bank.

  8. Dave says:

    I haven't found a bank that won't charge any fee in Southern California! 5% - 10% seems to be the norm! This is discouraging kids from having a piggy bank.

  9. Ken says:

    I understand casinos in Las Vegas have free coin countring services. Do not know about banking service locations.

  10. dave says:

    im looking for a place to change alot of coin. the golden gate casino in downtown las vegas told me they will take quarters and nickels but not pennys or dimes.

  11. dave says:

    if anyone does know of a place in vegas that takes pennys and dimes i would like to hear about it, thank you. dave.

  12. Jack says:

    Since the US Mint thru the Fed Res banks CHARGE customers (banks) for coins.

    Banks in turn CHARGE a fee to their customers (merchants/businesses) for coins. So just counting coins and putting the paper sleeves in machines, should save a bank a bundle and offer their customers an incentive to do business there. CoinStar charges nearly 9% to count your money. Some have the GALL to put an expiration date on receipts issued from the machines. CoinStar gets to keep the windfall for those who fail to redeem the receipt in time. Money doesn't have an expiration date! Most of the time the receipts must be redeemed at register which means standing in a long line,

    My old bank, Amboy National Bank, in central NJ, offered free counting service for customers. Was very convenient to get rid of pennies, and casino winnings!

    Why are bank so dumb on their customer desires? Coin counters aren't that expensive and will payoff in the long run in addition to customer good will...!

    Should I bring in pennies to my bank teller to count to deposit to my account?

  13. kara says:

    td bank just started to charge non-customers for their coin counting as well. 6%. anyone know of ANY bank or place in southern NJ that will coin count for free?

  14. Maddan says:

    Yup every bank including my x fav TD/Commerce bank now charge fees ...duhh..isn't it strange that the average joe american was forced to bail out the banks in the past and now they won't give us a break at the piggy bank//// I smell a revolution..."let them eat cake..remember what happened"...one more suckie how come its allright to get foreign coins when you buy(support) a country you visit but then noyone will touch those same coins...I wanna melt these coins down and beat somebody into Plowshares..ha ha ha

  15. Kai says:

    I work at the Sonic Drive-In as a carhop and a good bit of what I take home is change. I have close to a thirty pound bag of coins and ten percent of that is a great chunk of change. I'm not going to sit and count it all and roll it. (It'd take days!) for a bank (or any establishment, at that) to charge money for such a thing is a turn-off. They'd have more people, possibly more customers even, if they just stuck a coin-counter in the lobby for any and everyone to use.

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