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You have a container load of coins and you are thinking about how you are going to go through the stress of counting them one-by-one while trying to deposit them. Tiring, isn’t it? The question is would you rather feed it to a coin-counting machine-like Coinstar for a fee?
Coinstar makes it much easier than taking our coins to the bank, especially since we don’t have to count every coin ourselves. However, the only challenge people have is the Coinstar Fee which is the percentage fee for counting the coins.
Since nobody feels good to forfeit his extra money, we are happy to inform you that there is a way to bypass the Coinstar fee in a way that is safe, legal, and even recommended by Coinstar itself. All you have to do is to stay with this writing.
What is Coinstar?
If you live in the United States you are probably familiar with Coinstar, but for those who don’t, this company makes coin counting systems that are available in stores.
You can find a majority of these in grocery stores like Kroger and Walmart, but also in a few other smaller chains across the country.
These machines make it easy to walk in, toss your coins into the counting system, and then collect the money. It’s that simple, but they don’t do it for free. Coinstar’s fee is 11.9% of your total deposit.
This number varies from business to business as they may subsidize the processing fee. However, this is the standard fee stated by Coinstar. You can even watch the fee come out when your coins are counted. You can literally see the convenience fee right in front of you.
What is the Coinstar fee?
Coinstar charges a fee to deposit your coins and receive cashback. You have to pay them money to get cash from your coins. They are, after all, a business of convenience. Coinstar’s fee is 11.9% of your total deposit but can be bypassed.
Fortunately, we’re here to show you how to avoid the Coinstar fee. It’s not illegal and they even show it on their website.
Is CoinStar Worth It?
There is a time and a place for everything. Using a CoinStar machine to count and convert your stored coins is no different, and there are times when it isn’t such a terrible option.
If you’ve stored a lot of coins and can’t (or just can’t) spend the time counting and rolling them, a machine might be the way to go. This is especially true if you don’t have a local bank or want to cash in conveniently at the same place where you shop for groceries.
If you regularly spend money at any number of retailers – including Amazon – CoinStar might be a great choice for you.
CoinStar has a bad reputation for being an expensive machine, but let’s face it: companies deserve to be able to offer a service and to charge a fee for it.
The business is thriving despite the rise in fees in recent years. Obviously, people – those who know they are paying a fee – are willing to pay it and find the service worthwhile.
How does Coinstar work?
Redeeming your change at Coinstar is easy. Just pour your coins into the kiosk and the machine does the job.
- Choose one of the three convenient options: get cash with an 11.9% fee (fees may vary depending on location), choose a no-fee eGift card, or donate to your favorite charity.
- Please make sure that your coins are clean and dry and that you have removed any dirt, debris, or other items that could clog the coin compartment or interfere with the counting process. Place coins in the compartment. Lift the handle and insert your coins into the slot.
- Check the return slot for rejected coins. When all of your coins have been counted, you will be given a paper cash voucher or eGift card that has a unique code printed on top. Once you have chosen a charity, you will receive a receipt for your donation.
- If you have opted for cash, bring your voucher to the cash register. Please redeem your cash voucher on the same day it was issued. Once you’ve selected an eGift card, you can always use the unique code at the top of the voucher to make purchases in a retail store, restaurant or online. When you have donated your coins, please keep the receipt for your records.
In essence, when you drop your coins in their counter, it takes some time to count each coin. It will even drop out a few in a little tray that it couldn’t figure out (sometimes those coins might not be accepted currency).
Once it counts the coins, it gives you a total. This is after the 11.9% fee is taken out. You can choose to get paid with cash, get a gift card to certain store, or donate to a charity.
If you select cash, that’s when the fee is taken out. If you choose the other two, no fee is taken from your coin amount.
By selecting cash, you get a printed receipt from the machine. You then take this receipt up to the customer service counter of the store it’s located in.
They are the ones responsible for providing you with cash. Coinstar then pays the store. So, Coinstar doesn’t pay you directly. Their machines just count the coins, then give you a receipt to collect that cash.
But who wants to pay almost 12% on their money? That’s why we are about to show you how to bypass the Coinstar fee.
How to avoid Coinstar Fee
There’s no denying that Coinstar’s fees are pretty outrageous considering they are basically just exchanging money that you already have.
The good news is that there are some alternatives to cut the fee or bypass it all together when you have a huge chunk of the money changing to make money.
#1. Convert your coins into gift cards for free
If you’ve discovered a fortune in loose change under your sofa cushions, Coinstar is now offering you the opportunity to exchange your coins for electronic gift card vouchers for some of the most popular brands.
You simply enter your change, select the gift card you want, and the machine will print a receipt with a unique code that you can use just like a physical gift card.
Best of all, there are no fees for converting your coins into electronic gift card coupons.
Coinstar limits how much change you can exchange for a gift card. So it’s worth knowing the respective limits.
Coinstar gives you the option to bypass their fee. Instead of getting cash for your coins, you can purchase an e-gift card instead.
If you don’t have enough coins to get a gift card, don’t use Coinstar. You should really wait until you get more coins. There are a wide variety of retailers that can get e-gift cards. This is the best way to deposit your coins and not pay a fee. Shopping places like Amazon.com could be a great way to get rid of your coins and use your money on something you want.
#2. Scope out of a bank or credit Charge
Some banks offer free ATMs in their branches. If you are not a customer you may 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 wraps from the cashier. After the coins are rolled, the bank accepts them for deposit.
If you are fortunate enough to have a bank that has coin counting machines in their branches, you need to look at how the bank’s fee compares to what Coinstar charges to see which is the better deal.
#3. Make a Donation
With Coinstar you can also donate your change to charity. This is a great way to give something back. There is no fee for processing coins donated to charities. The donations are also tax-deductible – save the donation receipt for your tax documents.
Partner charities are:
- American Red Cross
- Kinderwunder network hospitals
- Feed America
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- The Humane Society of the United States
- United Path
- World Wildlife Fund
At Coinstar, the fact that it is convenient and you can write it off on your taxes are two pluses to consider.
#4. Roll the coins yourself
Most banks offer free coin rolls to customers who want to deposit large amounts of change. You still have a little work to do to package the coins yourself, but the costly alternative of using Coinstar is eliminated.
When figuring out what to do with your change, you need to consider how long you think it would take you to roll those coins against the fees that Coinstar or your bank would charge.
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