How to Turn Coins Into Cash: Complete Guide To Coinstar
This post may contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure.
This post was originally sponsored by Coinstar, and has been updated.
Do you have a jar full of loose change sitting in your house? Have you ever wondered what to do with it? Well, Coinstar is the perfect solution for turning your coins into cash!
With Coinstar kiosks located in many stores, you can easily convert your coins into paper currency and get the most out of your money. No more worrying about how to spend that jar of coins. Now you can turn them into something useful!
In this guide we will explain how Coinstar works, their fees, and how to avoid their fees.
Table of Contents
How Does Coinstar Work?
Coinstar is a convenient way to turn your loose change into something more useful. With Coinstar kiosks located in many stores, you can easily convert your coins into cash, NO FEE eGift Cards for popular brands, or charitable donations.
To turn your coins into cash, visit a Coinstar kiosk and pour them into the machine. The machine will count and sort your coins, then allow you to select what type of payout you would like.
You can choose from cash (minus a processing fee), a NO FEE eGift Card for popular brands like Amazon or Starbucks, or donate to charity. Once you have selected, the machine will dispense the appropriate money or gift card.
It’s important to note that not all coins are accepted by Coinstar machines. Before cashing in your coins, check them for foreign currency, out-of-circulation U.S. coins, arcade tokens, and other invalid inputs.
The Coinstar kiosk will reject any counterfeit or invalid currencies. To ensure that your coins are accepted, and you get the most out of your money, pre-check them before inserting them into the machine.
Do you have a jar or junk drawer collecting spare change? We keep an old glass juice bottle to collect our coins. It’s amazing how fast it starts to fill up.
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Money-saving tip: Keep a jar or container in a prominent place in your home, to serve as a daily reminder to save. Then, or when you find coins in the laundry or couch, add them to your jar.
Converting your coins into cash is a great way to teach kids about saving money and budgeting. So often, kids only see credit card transactions. The coins are tangible and heavy. It gives them a chance to see money.
How To Locate a Coin Machine Near You
Coinstar kiosks are conveniently located in places you’re likely to frequent, such as your local grocery store. Popular chains like Kroger-family and Albertsons-family stores often have Coinstar kiosks available.
Depending on your region, other grocery stores may also offer Coinstar services. With Coinstar, you can quickly turn coins into cash, eGift Cards, or charitable donations without any hassle. It’s a great way to eliminate the change that accumulates in your wallet or piggy bank!
Check, for instance, your local Kroger-family or Albertsons-family grocery store. These will vary regionally but include the following:
- Food 4 Less
- Fred Meyer
- King Soopers
- Pay-Less Super Markets
- Pick ‘n Save
- Smith’s Food and Drug
- United Supermarkets
- Star Market
More Coinstar Kiosks Near You
In addition to the two major supermarket chains, Coinstar kiosks can often be found in various stores, pharmacies, and big box stores.
- Winn Dixie
- Neighborhood Market
Coinstar locations can also be found in pharmacies, drugstores, retail stores, hardware stores, and many more. It’s usually easy to find a Coinstar machine nearby.
What Are Coinstars Fees?
Coinstar’s service fee is generally up to 11.9%. Some locations charge a $0.50 transaction fee too.
To avoid these fees, some locations offer free coin counting services when you redeem your coins for an eGift Card or donation. Fees may vary by location.
Some sites claim Coinstar’s fees are 12.5%. Those sites are inaccurate. I personally called Coinstar and verified.
There Are Four Ways To Avoid Coinstar Fees
You’ve collected coins from all over the place. You’ve found the change in your home, car, and even a few unlikely spots. You now have a piggy bank, shoe box, glass jar or coffee can full of all those coins.
Since you are visiting ChaChingQueen, you surely don’t like giving money away. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to redeem your coins without any Coinstar fees.
- Gift Card Redemption
- Donate Your Coins
- Walmart Store Credit
- Coinstar Alternatives
Turn Coins Into Gift Cards With Coinstar
Get FREE Coin Counting when you turn coins into a Card or eCertificate with Coinstar
You can exchange your coins for FREE when you load the value onto a card or eCertificate. They have big-name/ well-known brands such as Amazon, CVS, Old Navy, Starbucks, Regal, and more.
This is a great way to eliminate loose change and earn gift cards. We did this recently Home Depot gift certificate.
Check your local machine for an up-to-date list of eGift card options, but Coinstar partners with dozens of major retailers, restaurants, and brands for this offering. Current options include:
- Apple Store
- Lowe’s Home Improvement
- Outback Steakhouse
- Red Robin
- Southwest Airlines
- Texas Roadhouse
- The Home Depot
After converting coins, the kiosk gives you a paper eGift Card with a unique code that works just like plastic gift cards. You can then use this in-store or online.
We took our jar full of coins to our neighborhood Dierbergs and walked away with an Amazon eGift Card. How cool is that?
Make A Donation
Donating it to charity is one way to make the most of your spare change. Coinstar offers a variety of charitable organizations you can support without incurring any fees.
The donation is also tax-deductible, so you can reduce your taxable income while making a difference in the world.
Not all charities are available on every kiosk.
Coinstar currently partners with nine organizations where you can donate your coins:
- The American Red Cross
- Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
- Feeding America
- The NAACP
- The Humane Society of the United States
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- United Way
- The World Wildlife Fund
When you opt for this method of coin redemption, you can give to a cause close to your heart without incurring a fee, and you’ll also be able to benefit when you file your taxes.
Earn Walmart Store Credit
Coinstar kiosks are located in many Walmart stores, and they offer a convenient way to turn your loose change into cash or store credit. Coinstar kiosks provide the option to redeem coins for a no-fee eGift Card, cash, or a charity donation. For those who prefer to shop at Walmart, Coinstar also offers the option of redeeming coins for store credit at that location. This is an excellent way to turn coins into something as good as cash without paying a fee.
Before visiting a Coinstar kiosk, it’s important to check if the Walmart you’re going to has installed. You can do this by searching online for “Coinstar” and the name of your local Walmart store.
Once you’ve found the kiosk, all you need to do is follow the prompts, and you’ll be able to convert your coins into cash or store credit quickly.
Alternatives To Coinstar
Are you looking for an alternative to Coinstar? If so, you’re in luck! There are several options available that can help you turn coins into cash without having to use Coinstar.
One option is to visit your local bank or credit union and ask for paper sleeves that you can use to roll your coins.
Once the coins are rolled, you can deposit them into your account just like any other type of deposit. This is a great way to get cash for your coins without paying fees.
Another option is the service counter at your local grocery store. In many cases, stores need coins and will gladly exchange you cash or credit for your coins.
Quiktrip Gas Stations (which we love by the way), will also convert your coins into cash.
Back to School
In a recent Coinstar back-to-school survey, most parents (84%) plan to send their kids to in-person schools in the fall. Although excited for their kids to return, 61% of parents expect back-to-school expenses to be higher than pre-pandemic costs.
Many families have tight budgets now, recovering from the pandemic, and welcome any opportunity to save some money.
When asked about spare change in the house, 68% of parents said spare change at home is higher or about the same compared to last year. 70% said they plan or consider to cash in spare change to cover back-to-school expenses.
If you’re ready for your kids to go back to school but not ready for back-to-school expenses, Coinstar® can help. At convenient kiosks, turn loose change into spending cash or NO FEE – eGift Cards.
How to Turn Coins to Cash, eGift Cards, or Charity Donations
Coinstar’s convenient kiosks easily turn loose change into cash, NO FEE eGift Cards, or charity donations. You don’t have to sort or roll coins. Just bring your jar, bag, or container and slowly dump the coins into the machine found at many grocery, drug, and retail stores, as well as financial institutions. Find a kiosk near you here.
Include The Family
Using Coinstar kiosks is a fun way to teach kids about finances. As a family, have the kids collect coins around the house and see how quickly they add up. Then, go to the kiosk together and discuss which eGift Card or donation to choose.
You could even make a game of it and have family members guess the total value of coins. Maybe the winner gets the eGift Card? 🙂
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.