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Coin Counting: Where to Turn in Your Change for Free

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CoinsDo you have a jar somewhere in your room filled with spare coins? Most of us do.

While it can be a painless way to let cash accrue and save for things like a vacation or debt snowflaking, turning that change in can be a real pain, especially if you are hit with fees. However, there are ways to avoid the fees and the inconvenience of counting and rolling your own change.

1. Check with your bank. Your bank may have a change counting machine. All you need to do is lug in your change and the bank employee runs it through the machine and gives you your dollar bills back. Before you load up the car with pounds of pennies, make sure you call your bank first. Our bank has a change counting machine at one branch only, so I have to drive a bit to turn in the change. Then, the change machine is often full thanks to restaurants and bars that bring in their change, too, so I always have to call ahead to make sure the change counting machine has been emptied recently. Most credit unions still offer this service as well as a handful of banks.

2. Get gift cards from CoinStar. CoinStar has little green change counting machines conveniently located at many grocery stores. However, if you opt for cash back, you will get hit with a whopping 9.8% fee, meaning if you cash in $100, you will only walk away with $90.20. However, there is a simple way around this fee–just opt for a gift card instead. CoinStar offers plenty of gift cards including Starbucks, Papa John’s, Cub Foods, Jewel-Osco, Gap, and JC Penney, just to name a few. They have 40 gift cards to choose from. Use them for yourself or save them to buy holiday presents for others. Check CoinStar’s website to determine what locations have the gift cards you would like because not all gift cards are available at all locations.

3. “Sell” your change to a friend. Have a friend or co-worker who has to use the laundromat or needs to feed parking meters frequently? Why not sell him your quarters? You get paper cash, and he gets change for the washing machine and dryer or meters without having to make a separate trip to the bank. Win-win for both parties.

4. Turn them in to a small business you frequent.  This may not work for everyone, but if you have a small business you frequent, the business owner may consider taking your rolled change in exchange for paper cash. You would need a good relationship, and the business owner would need to trust you. Also, you will have to take the time to count and package the change, too.

Keeping your spare change can be a good way to save for a long-term goal such as a vacation or money to apply to your debt down payment. While it used to simply be a matter of counting and rolling your coins and taking them to the bank, turning in change is a bit more difficult now, but there are still ways to do it fee free.

What other strategies do you use to turn in your change for free?

(Photo: r-z)

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13 Responses to “Coin Counting: Where to Turn in Your Change for Free”

  1. Jason says:

    If you live near a casino, you can bring your quarters and nickles there. Since most casinos have quarter and nickle slots (some have penny slots), they will have change machines that count and change your coins into cash for free. Then, if you have to use Coinstar for your dimes, your effective/overall change fee will be much less than 9%. Take advantage of this now, since most casinos are switching exclusively to paper receipts for cash outs.

  2. Matt M says:

    Even if a bank doesn’t have coin counting I’m pretty sure you could hand a teller a jar and ask for cash.

  3. daenyll says:

    As kids my dad always had us count out the change jars and put them in the coin wrappers you can ask for at the bank for free, then we’d turn them in. You won’t get any argument from the teller as opposed to just bringing in a jar.

    Also a good lesson in just how those pennies add up to big bucks for kids.

    • Shirley says:

      Several years ago we took $400 of rolled coin to our local CU for deposit. The teller said not to bother rolling it next time because they just have to open the rolls to count them anyway.

      • Sadie says:

        Same occurred to me with teller unwrapping the coins at CU. However, she removed coins, not in front of me but over at the machine with her back to me & then began hollering about the machine not working properly!

        Needless to say her count differed from my own!
        Guess I will always wonder was both my sister & I wrong or did the machine keep a few coins?

  4. ziglet19 says:

    I just emptied my son’s piggy bank last week, rolled the change, and deposited into his account – he had $250! It really does add up!

  5. Ray says:

    If your bank doesn’t have a change counting machine, why not just roll them up yourself and make a deposit.

  6. One of the funniest events of my life was when I took my grandkids to the local grocery store to dump their savings into a coin counter. They were horrified at the idea that the machine would charge them for this service. I can’t look at one of those machines without laughing.

    • Sadie says:

      Chances are the kids had “saved” their money for some important reason.

      There is nothing sadder than seeing kids walk up to one of these machines that charges them for their service of coin counting.

      At such a time as this, what better way than to begin “educating” the kids on the “pot holes” in finance with the alternative way of receiving more of their money by wrapping coins.

  7. Merdeego says:

    Most Casinos no longer take the nichols and pennies in the slots but you can still take them to the casino. The cashiers have to take them for fair market value.

  8. Seth says:

    I don’t know if it is this way for all banks, but my credit union charges a small fee for using the coin counter. Instead of taking the change all at once and paying to use the coin counter, I just grab a small handful whenever I am going to the bank. The tellers may instruct you to use the coin counter if you bring in a big jar of coins, but will have no problem with just a couple of dollars worth.

  9. When I was collecting change and rolling the coins I thought it was preposterous that they charged a fee. After a while you see the worth of it and sometimes you just dont have hours to make up a few cents. I have not looked for any free services but I also have not exchanged change in a long while.


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