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How To Find A Coinstar Near Me (Avoid The Fee)

What Is Coinstar?

Blond woman using coinstar machine
Blond woman using coinstar machine

According to Wikipedia, “Coinstar, LLC (previously Outerwall, Inc.) is a coin-cashing machine corporation based in the United States. Outerwall, Inc. was purchased by Apollo Global Management, LLC on September 27, 2016, for $52.00 per share in cash. Former components of Outerwall, Redbox, Coinstar, and ecoATM (which includes Gazelle) became separate company organizations after the acquisition.

Coinstar focuses on the conversion of loose change into paper currency, donations, and gift cards using coin counter machines that charge a fee for a coin to banknote conversion; as of 2019, it processes $2.7 billion in coins. Coinstar Exchange is a gift card exchange run by the corporation. The Coinstar kiosks are located in the front of the business (between the cash registers and the exit/entrance). In the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, the corporation has over 60,000 kiosks that provide a variety of services. Coinstar also manufactures prepaid credit card machines and e-payment kiosks. Coinstar changed its name to Outerwall on July 2, 2013, and began trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol OUTR. Apollo Global Management presently owns it as of 2016.”

So, if you have a hoard (or let’s just say collected) of a lot of coins lately and want to cash them up, let’s find out a Coinstar near me and avoid the fee to get the most out of your collection. And in this context, “me” means you, our dear reader.

How Does It Work?

It's simple to trade in your stray coins at Coinstar. Simply deposit your cash into a machine and leave the rest to them.

  • There is an 11.9 percent coin processing fee. Fees may differ depending on the location.
  • Clean the coins of dirt, grime, and other foreign things. Fill the dish with coins. Toss coins into the slot by lifting the handle.
  • You'll get a cash voucher once the machine has finished counting. At the cashier, exchange your voucher for cash.

How Much Does It Cost To Use Coinstar?

The processing cost for Coinstar is 11.9 percent. You must select to get a Coinstar eGift card rather than cash to avoid the processing cost. Examine the list of participating restaurants and businesses before selecting the gift card choice. They'll be the only places where you may use your eGift card to make purchases:

  • AMC Theaters
  • Amazon
  • Applebee’s
  • Cabela’s
  • Chili’s Grill and Bar
  • Chuck E. Cheese
  • Domino’s
  • GameStop
  • Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta stores
  • Hotels.com
  • IHOP
  • iTunes
  • Lowe’s
  • Nike
  • Regal Theaters
  • Showtime
  • Sephora
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Starbucks
  • Steam
  • The Home Depot

Here are the current Coinstar e-gift card options:

List of coinstar locations and limits to encashing coins
List of coinstar locations and limits to encashing coins
Other Coinstar locations and limits you can use
Other Coinstar locations and limits you can use

Is There An Alternative To Coinstar?

If you have children, the simplest and most accessible of all the free Coinstar options is to involve them: Allow the kids to count and roll their own money from their jars of loose change.

A free coin counting service at a national or super-regional bank is rare to get by these days.

Finding a local credit union or small community bank that will count your change for free is your best chance.

As of now, MyBankTracker.com only has a handful of banks on its list for 2020. Most of these banks offer the service just to their existing customers:

List of some alternatives to coinstar
List of some alternatives to coinstar

Inquire about free coin exchange at your local credit union; many credit unions that aren't on this list do offer the service to their members (and sometimes to non-members).

How Do I Avoid Coinstar Fees?

There are two ways to avoid the Coinstar fee and cash your coins for free. If you want to start small, you can sort and fill your own coin rolls, then take them to the bank to deposit or exchange for cash. If you have a large amount of spare change, the process could take a while, but at least you'll be saving money. Ask for the paper coin sleeves at your local branch first. It is possible to obtain them for free from most banks as well as from an office supply store.

Driving to one of the few banks that still have coin counting machines is another option, but it is more time-consuming. Have lots of spare change? It might be worth the journey. However, some banks charge non-bank customers a fee to use the ATM.

You Can Also Donate Your Coins To Charity

Coinstar machine display w/ donate to charity option
Coinstar machine display w/ donate to charity option

It's also possible to get around the Coinstar fee by choosing to donate your coins instead.

Bonus tip: Keep the receipt because it's deductible.

The following are the current charity options:

  • American Red Cross
  • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
  • Feeding America
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • The Humane Society
  • UNICEF
  • United Way
  • WWF

How Accurate Is Coinstar?

Persons hands collecting coins from coinstar machine
Persons hands collecting coins from coinstar machine

The accuracy of coin-counting machines has been a source of contention in the past. Indeed, machines that literally shortchanged customers were the reason that some banks, including TD Bank, removed their Penny Arcade coin machines.

According to the company's website, Coinstar machines "undergo extensive testing to ensure kiosks are very accurate and reliable." The kiosks are serviced on a regular basis by a team of qualified experts. However, anyone concerned about being taken advantage of by the coin counter can consider manually rolling the change to cash in or deposit at a bank. Consider calculating your change before taking it to a Coinstar kiosk so you can be sure the machine is accurately counting your coins before you hand them over to them.

How To Use Small Change To Save For A Goal

Saving your spare change can help you fund a short-term objective, such as a weekend excursion or a unique purchase. Put the pennies in a jar or a bowl every time you get change back after paying. Depending on how frequently you spend cash for goods and services, you may have the amount you require sooner than you think. Use the funds to pay for your goal by taking your coins to Coinstar or rolling them to exchange at your bank.

Conclusion

Spending a few minutes at the end of each day to put your extra change in a container is an easy method to save up for a rainy day or a special treat. However, don't allow a machine to eat up too much of your haul. To keep 100% of your money, go to your credit union or cash out with a gift card.

About The Authors

Stefano Mclaughlin

Stefano Mclaughlin - For the first five years of his career, Stefano worked as a financial advisor on state and local tax matters, developing internal marketing technology for his multinational tax business. With over 12 years of experience designing high-performance web applications and interactive interactions, Stefano is now a marketing technology specialist and founder.

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