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Unless you’re the world’s most devoted Scrooge McDuck cosplayer, the pile of coins you’ve amassed at home could be put to better use.
Is there a best way to cash in coins? Read on to figure out how to turn coins to cash that fits in your wallet or purse.
Turn cash into coins at a credit union or a bank
You’d think a bank would be the best place to change your coins into cash, since counting and sorting money is one of the reasons we have banks. But it turns out they don’t like having loose change any more than the rest of us. You may have better luck at a local credit union — some of which still offer free coin counting services — but you may have to be a member to take advantage.
The big banks — Chase, Bank of America, Citi and Wells Fargo — typically require you to roll your own change before accepting it. You’ll also most likely need to have an account with that bank (it’s best to confirm the policy with your local branch). That means you can’t just dump a sack of coins on some hapless teller and expect them to sort your coins while the people wait behind you in line.
One standout among the big four banks is Chase, which will accept up to $100 in rolled change from non-customers. If you have an account with Chase, you’re not limited when you change coins to cash.
You may also be able to find some ways to get the banks to exchange your loose change for paper currency, but the loops you have to jump through may make it more trouble than it’s worth.
A Wells Fargo spokesperson said “small business customers are encouraged to enroll in our coin deposit service, which does not require them to roll their [own coins].” However, that requires you to have a business account with Wells Fargo. You can only exchange up to $50 in coins for free, larger amounts will be subject to a service fee.
Since the large banks don’t advertise their coin exchange policies on their websites, the best way to figure out whether your bank will accept your coins is to call the branch you plan on visiting. Make sure to ask if you have to roll your own change or if they will do that for you.
How do you roll change?
Rolling the change means taking that pile of coins, sorting them by denomination and placing them in paper rolls displaying the type of denomination (such as nickels) and the amount of money contained in each roll (such as $5). You can purchase these rolls at a variety of big-box or office supply stores (such as Staples or Walmart) or get them from your local bank.
Depending on the amount of coins you’re planning on rolling, this task can easily eat up a few hours. If you happen to be sitting on a hoard of loose change, purchasing a personal coin sorting machine may be worth the time you save. Some of the higher-end, automatic sorters can easily top $150, though hand-crank versions are more affordable at around $30.
If you don’t feel like sorting and rolling your coins and your local bank doesn’t accept deposits of loose change, you still have another option: Coinstar.
Use Coinstar to turn coins into cash
Coinstar has more than 20,000 kiosks worldwide where you can change coins to cash. After adding your coins to the tray and guiding them down the slot, the Coinstar machine will provide a voucher that you can exchange for cash at the retail location where the kiosk is installed.
But this convenience comes at a cost. Coinstar charges you an 11.9% service fee (which Coinstar says can vary due to location) based on how much you put in the machine. In this case, if you change $100 worth of coins into cash, you’d only get $88.10.
Coinstar lets you turn coins into gift cards
Coinstar does offer another option for those who want to avoid the service fee. You can redeem the coins in the form of a gift cards for a specific business.
This fee-free option comes with a few caveats. For one, not every Coinstar kiosk offers gift cards for every business that has opted into this deal. You should make sure your local kiosk has the gift card available for what you want. Another thing to keep in mind is that each business’ gift certificate comes with its own minimum and maximum limits. You can’t trade in your coins for a gift certificate worth more than $100 at AMC, for example.
As of June 20, 2019, the following gift cards were available:
|Amazon Gift Card||$5||$1,000|
|The Home Depot||$5||$2,000|
Donate your coins with Coinstar
Another way you can get rid of your coins via Coinstar without paying a fee is by making a donation to a charity. The charities partnering with Coinstar as of June 20, 2019, are:
- American Red Cross
- Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
- Feeding America
- The Humane Society of the United States
- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- United Way
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Similar to the businesses participating in the gift certificate program, not all charity donations are available at all kiosks.
Our two cents
Finding where to cash in coins for free will likely require some work on your end in the form of sorting and rolling your change. Otherwise, you can eat the 11.9% fee Coinstar charges and just dump your loose change into a machine.