Where To Turn Your Coins Into Cash [Fast!]

coin exchange

A common practice for many of us on a debt-free journey and lifestyle is to pay for items with cash. One side effect of using cash is the vast amount of change that we collect and later store in containers on our dresser.

Each day, our economies are getting closer to a cashless society. For those of us who prefer cash, this can cause problems when we make purchases and when we want to turn our coins back into cash.

Turning coins into cash is getting more difficult each day and in some instances, it can be very costly. Due to this, I have compiled a list of companies and services you can still use to turn your dusty old coins back into cold hard cash.

Option #1 – Cash Coins For Free [At Your Bank]

coins exchange near me

In the past, you could bring your coins into your bank and they would count them for you with a machine. It was a free service most banks offered as a service to their customers. However, the machines were expensive to maintain and there were several issues with their accuracy.

TD Bank was recently sued because their coin counting machines were so off, some of them were shorting customers up to $50.00!

Due to this, most banks no longer offer coin-counting services and expect you to bring your coins in pre-rolled. Every bank I contacted was still willing to give you the paper rolls for you to roll your own coins but they did not have a service to do this for me. The majority of the banks referred me to an automated coin-counting kiosk at another location

If you walk up to the teller with a bag or jar full of coins, expect to be turned away. 

Most of the large banks do not offer automated coin exchange kiosks in their lobbies anymore. However, credit unions still commonly do.

The Best Option For The Most Money

change machine near me

If you take the time and pre-roll your coins and bring them to your local bank, you can guarantee you are getting all of your money. You do not subject your hard-earned change to the possible inaccuracy of a coin counting machine.

However, depending on the number of coins you have, it may not make sense for you to spend a large amount of time sorting through these coins. Your time is worth a lot more than you may give yourself credit.

This was a hard lesson I learned as I progressed through my 20s. Check out my related article, Lessons I Learned About The Value Of Time before you spend hours rolling your coins.

Many banks will not accept pre-rolled coins if you are not a member. Always call ahead of time to see if they will accept coins from non members.

If you still are in the mood to roll your own coins and don’t know how, here is an instructional video.

Option #2 – Most Credit Unions Exchange Coins For Cash For Free

While most large banks do not waive the coin exchange fee charged by the Coinstar kiosks, many credit unions do! Unfortunately, to take advantage of this service, you usually are required to be a member of the credit union to have the coin fee waived.

If you are a member of a credit union, give them a call or check their website to see if they waive fees if you bring in your change.

I personally am a member of Arizona Federal Credit Union and I have taken in jars of change. I dump my change into the Coinstar machine and then walk the receipt over to the teller.

From there the teller will give me my cash and waive the fee. This is also a great alternative to rolling your own coins.

Again, double check with your credit union to see if they offer this service.

Option #3 – A Coin Exchange Machine Near You (Coinstar)

Coin exchange machines are automated kiosks that will count all of your coins and provide you with either cash or gift cards. The most popular coin counting machine in the United States is Coinstar.

An Explanation Of The Coinstar Exchange

The Coinstar kiosk is a vertical machine that is usually inside bank lobbies, grocery stores, malls, and other areas where people buy and sell goods. It is an extremely convenient machine that lets you pour all of your loose change in the top and it will count it automatically.

In a short amount of time, it will print out a receipt for you and either provide you with cash or a gift card.

The Heavy Fees Of Turning Coins Into Cash

td bank coin counter

While convenient, Coinstar is by no means a “cheap” way to count your coins. If you choose to use this machine, it will charge you 11.9% of your total in fees! If you were to bring in $100.00 worth of coins, you would only take home $88.10 in cash. What a rip off!

I would never suggest taking such a big hit in fees even though it does save you a ton of time. Luckily, Coinstar understands that those of us who can do math would never agree to these fees so they have another option.

Coinstar now offers eGift cards to turn your coins into gift cards without any fees.

Avoid The Fees With Coinstar Giftcards

  • Amazon / Minimum $5.00 – Maximum $1,000
  • Applebees / Minimum $5.00 – Maximum $500.00
  • GameStop / Minimum $5.00 – Maximum $500.00
  • Southwest Airlines / Minimum $25.00 – Maximum $500.00
  • Starbucks / Minimum $5.00 – Maximum $500.00
  • The Home Depot / Minimum $5.00 – Maximum $2,000.00

If you are able to get a $2,000.00 gift card from Home Depot, I want to see the forklift you used to get all those coins in the door!

Donate Your Coins To Charity With Coinstar

If you are in a giving mood, you can select the option to donate your coins to a charity. When you make the donation, you will be given a receipt to claim on your taxes as a charitable contribution.
The current charities you can donate to through Coinstar:

  • American Red Cross
    • Here’s what your donation provides:
      • $3 provides 1 comfort kit containing hygiene items for a disaster client.
      • $6 provides 1 blanket for a client.
      • $10 provides 1 hot meal to a disaster client.
      • $18 provides 3 blankets to clients.
      • $20 provides 2 hot meals (lunch and dinner) to a disaster client.
  • Feeding America
    • Here’s how your donation helps:
      • $1 helps provide 11 meals
      • $5 helps provide 55 meals
      • $10 helps provide 110 meals
  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    • Here’s what your donation provides:
      • $1 Protein biscuits for a hungry child
      • $6 A soccer ball for children in refugee camps
      • $35 Vaccines to protect over 50 kids from killer diseases
      • $100 A bicycle to deliver important medicines
      • $500 A pump that provides clean water to a village or school

Will Coinstar Short Me Money?

No one other than Coinstar really knows how accurate their counts are so it’s a risk you take by utilizing their machine. With that being said, I am relatively comfortable using them especially in the current climate of scrutiny around the accuracy of the machines.

With the pending lawsuit of TD Bank and their coin counting issues, I am willing to bet Coinstar isn’t willing to go bankrupt by cheating customers.

Coinstar Exchange Near Me

coin machine in safeway

For the fastest and most accurate information, visit the Coinstar website to find the nearest machine.

Coinstar is making a significant impact across the world and is found in:

  • Ireland
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Western Europe
  • Canada

If you are looking for a local Coinstar, you can commonly find them at these locations:

  • Safeway
  • CVS
  • OneAZ Credit Union
  • Ranch Market
  • Kroger
  • Arizona Federal Credit Union
  • Walmart
  • Stop & Shop
  • Neighborhood Market
  • WinCo
  • Harris Teeter
  • Food 4 Less
  • Northgate Markets
  • Vons
  • Smart & Final
  • Dillon Food Stores
  • Albertsons
  • Credit Union Of Colorado
  • Shaw’s
  • PayOMatic
  • Pick-N-Save

Places That Do NOT Offer Coin Counting Machines

  • TD Bank
  • Wells Fargo
  • Bank Of America
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • Capital One

Where Can You Turn Your Cash Or Coins Into Quarters?

My friend Brian over at MyMillennialGuide wrote a detailed post about the best places to get quarters if you need them for parking meters or other machines.

In Summary

Saving your coins can still quickly add up but it is getting more difficult to turn them back into cash. If you have the spare time, rolling your coins by hand will give you the most bang for your buck. However, remember that your time is also worth money. It may be worth it to use a Coinstar machine and take the gift card without fees.

Remember that many credit unions will waive the fees of the machines if you are a member. As far as the Coinstar fees go, I can not think of a scenario where it would make sense to actually take the 11.9% hit on your return. It’s just not worth it!