Chances are you have a big jar of coins stashed somewhere in your home. You keep meaning to do something with it, but the coins just keep accumulating. Now is the time to do something about it and get cash for coins!
The United States Mint has released several statements recently encouraging consumers to spend their coins. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coins have not been circulating as much as they normally would.
This has led to retailers and small businesses having some difficulty accepting cash payments, which is a problem for those people who primarily – or exclusively – use cash.
To help out, it’s time to get those coins back into circulation. And you’d be surprised how quickly the value of those coins can add up! Turn them in for cash and get some money to pay off debt, spend, or save.
Places to Get Cash for Coins
You have several different options of places to get cash for coins. Some are totally free, while some will require a fee that takes a percentage of the cash total. Peruse this list and see what works for you.
1. Your Local Bank or Credit Union
The easiest way to get cash for coins is to check with your local bank or credit union to see what they can do for you.
There are so many variables to consider that it’s impossible to round up all of the different options here. Just make a quick phone call to ask. You could also try browsing their website to see if that information is listed.
Banks and credit unions may have a coin-counting machine, or you may be asked to bring in rolled coins. (Loose coins are usually preferred if they have a machine.)
Coin counting may be limited to members only, or available to non-members with a fee. Recently, a few banks have even offered bonuses for trading in your coins for cash, considering the national coin shortage.
The smaller the establishment, the more likely they’ll have a free coin-counting machine for your use.
I just contacted my credit union and found out that coin counting is free for members. (We have a free checking account, too – I love my credit union!)
I did find a few larger banks that have coin-counting machines available for members:
- U.S. Bank has 3,000+ branches across the United States, primarily in the Western and Midwestern states. They have coin-counting machines available to customers. Fees may apply. Filter your search by “coin counter” to find locations with a machine.
- Fifth Third Bank has 1,100+ branches across eleven states. They offer loose coin exchange; fees may apply. Filter your search by “loose coin exchange” to find locations where you can get cash for coins.
- TCF Bank has 400+ branches across seven states, including Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. They have coin machines available at many locations and charge a 0-1.5% fee for customers and a 10% fee for non-customers.
How to Roll Your Coins
Your bank or credit union may want you to roll your coins before bringing them in to exchange. If that’s the case, it’s OK to let out a groan as this can be a pretty tedious process.
To roll your coins, you’ll need to get some coin wrappers. These are paper rolls of different sizes that are color-coded for different denominations.
They fit 40-50 coins per wrapper, depending on the coin you’re rolling. Your bank may give you coin wrappers for free, or you can pick them up at the dollar store.
Here’s a tip: get your kids to do it! It’s an opportunity for them to learn about the different coin values, and you can even promise them a cut of the cash when you trade in the coins at the bank.
Coin Counting Machines
If your bank or credit union doesn’t have a coin counting machine, or you’re just looking for a super quick way to get cash for coins, you’ll need to use a public coin-counting machine.
These are found inside larger stores – especially grocery stores – typically near the customer service area or lottery ticket vending machines.
Chances are if you find one of these machines, it’s probably a Coinstar kiosk. These kiosks are very easy to use, but keep in mind that they charge a whopping 11.9% service fee if you want to trade your coins for cold hard cash. (I’ll give you some tips on how to nix the fees in a bit.)
To use a Coinstar kiosk, just gather your coins. Make sure that they’re free of dirt, debris, and other objects, then pour them into the kiosk. It’s kind of fun to use, actually – the machine counts up to 600 coins per minute!
When the machine is done counting your coins, you’ll receive a voucher to trade with a cashier in the store. Be sure to trade it right away as it’s like cash – if you lose it, it’s gone and cannot be replaced.
Truth be told, I don’t love the 11.9% service fee (keep in mind that fees may vary by location). Still, using a Coinstar kiosk is an OK option if you need cash fast. After all, your money was just sitting there at home!
Where to Find Coinstar Kiosks
There are 21,000+ Coinstar kiosks worldwide, and you can use the kiosk locator on their website to find the kiosk(s) nearest you. Here are some major retailers and grocery stores that most likely have Coinstar kiosks inside:
Just about everyone has a Walmart store near them as there are 11,500+ Walmart stores worldwide. It is easily the most common place to find a Coinstar kiosk.
Plus, the Walmart MoneyCenter offers other financial services including cash and transfer services, insurance, tax services, and more.
CVS operates 9,900+ pharmacy stores in 49 states (every state except Wyoming). I couldn’t find a CVS near me that has a Coinstar kiosk, but I know that many are found elsewhere in the U.S.
Kroger and its affiliates have 2,700+ grocery stores in the U.S. across 35 states.
Affiliates include Baker’s, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Foods Co, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, King Soopers, Jay C Food Store, Kroger, Pay-Less Super Markets, QFC, Ralphs, and Smith’s Food and Drug.
Besides Coinstar kiosks, they also offer Western Union money services, check cashing, and no-contract wireless services.
Albertsons and its affiliates operate 2,200+ grocery stores in 34 states across the U.S.
Affiliates include Acme, Albertsons, Carrs, Haggen, Jewel-Osco, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, United Supermarkets, and Vons.
Many locations also have a bank inside or offer Western Union money services.
6. Southeastern Grocers
Southeastern Grocers operates 500+ stores across the southeast United States, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The largest affiliate is Winn-Dixie, but they also operate BI-LO, Fresco y Más, and Harveys. Most locations offer money transfer/money order services in addition to Coinstar kiosks.
ShopRite operates 300+ grocery stores across six states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
HEB has 300+ grocery stores, all in Texas.
Their business center services are pretty impressive. Besides Coinstar kiosks, they also offer Western Union money services, a bill payment service, check cashing, copy and fax services, and more. You can even renew your vehicle tabs, purchase your hunting or fishing license, or buy tickets to various attractions.
Hy-Vee operates 200+ stores across eight states: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Not all stores have a Coinstar kiosk.
Meijer has 200+ grocery stores in six states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
11. Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle operates 200+ grocery stores in Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Besides Coinstar kiosks, other in-store services include full-service banks inside select stores, professional dry-cleaning and laundry services, and even childcare.
Hannaford has close to 200 grocery stores in five states: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
They also have an ATM and check cashing services at most – if not all – locations.
Coborn’s and its affiliates have 100+ grocery stores across the Midwest.
Affiliates include Cash Wise, Coborn’s, Hornbacher’s, Marketplace Foods, and Save-A-Lot.
Other guest services they offer include check cashing, copies and fax, money orders, and even local event tickets!
14. WinCo Foods
WinCo Foods operates 100+ grocery stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
Their format is pretty bare-bones, but they still offer plenty of in-store services including money orders and transfers, payroll check cashing, fax services, and more.
How to Avoid Coinstar Fees
Alrighty, so back to the 11.9% fee for converting coins to cash at a Coinstar kiosk. That is a BIG percentage and definitely not something you can ignore.
That means if you bring in $100 worth of coins, you’re handing over $12 just for the privilege of accessing your own money.
There are two ways you can skip this Coinstar fee. Admittedly, you won’t get cold hard cash with either of these options, but they’re still worth considering.
Get an e-Gift Card
The first option is to turn the value of your coins into an e-gift card. This way you won’t pay any fee.
These paper e-gift cards have a unique code printed on them and work just like plastic gift cards. You can use them to pay in-store or online. Just make sure you don’t lose the paper!
Currently, you can get e-gift cards to the following retailers at Coinstar:
- Chili’s Grill & Bar
- Chuck E. Cheese’s
- Gap Options (Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta)
- Karma Koin
- Krispy Kreme
- Razer Gold
- Red Robin
- Ruby Tuesday
- The Home Depot
These e-gift cards do require a minimum balance ($5 and up), and not all options are available at each kiosk. And yes, this isn’t like actual cash, but pretty much everyone shops at Amazon, right?!
Donate the Money to Charity
The other way to skip the Coinstar fee is to donate your money to charity through their Coins that Count program. Your donation is tax-deductible, so keep the receipt.
You can currently donate to the following organizations:
- American Red Cross
- Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
- Feeding America
- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- The Humane Society of the United States
- United Way
- World Wildlife Fund
Note that not all charities are available at every kiosk. Any amount is gratefully accepted. Think about it like leaving your change in the Salvation Army kettle around the holidays, but this one you can do all year round.
Gas Stations and Convenience Stores
In light of the current coin shortage, some gas stations and convenience stores will also take your coins for cash, and they may even give you some bonuses along with it.
QuikTrip (QT) operates 800+ gas stations and food marts in the Midwestern, Southeastern, and Southern United States.
This recent article on Clark.com states that you can bring your coins to any QuikTrip location and get cash for them. If they don’t have the necessary cash on hand, they’ll give you a QuikTrip gift card for the remaining balance.
If you’re going this route, you may want to sort and roll your coins in advance to make it easier for them.
Wawa is a chain of 800+ convenience retail stores in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. They recently announced a sweepstakes in which you can swap your coins for cash while entering to win some prizes.
You’ll need to exchange of minimum of $5 of rolled coins to receive the same value back as cash along with a ticket confirming your exchange.
Then take the ticket and complete the online entry form to receive one entry into the sweepstakes.
Along with the sweepstakes, you’ll also get a freebie with your exchange. Exchanges of $5 – $49.99 will get you a free beverage coupon, and exchanges of $50 – $500 will get you a free hoagie coupon.
17. Your Pocket
And finally, the final place you can get cash for coins is…your pocket. Remember that your coins are currency, too! Many merchants are still accepting cash and would be happy to take your coins.
Now, you probably don’t want to bring in 100 pennies instead of $1 (because that’s just plain annoying), but you can keep coins on hand in your wallet or car to make exact change every time you go out.
You’d be surprised at how quickly you can spend your coins this way. Replenish your coin stash weekly to make sure you work your way through it.
Think outside the box – maybe you can roll up your quarters and give them as part of a gift to a college student. Bring some loose change with you to the coffee shop and leave a bunch in the tip jar.
Use the self-checkout lane at the store to spend a bunch of coins at once so the poor cashier doesn’t have to deal with it.
Sure, those coins look pretty sitting in a jar, but they’re not really useful there. It’s time to take them out and get cash for coins. Bring them to your local bank, a Coinstar kiosk, or a gas station and put your hard-earned money to work.