It’s fun to have a coin jar and see it filled up as time goes by. However, there comes a time when you need to exchange some coins for cash. What do you do then? It’s not like you can buy airplane tickets with coins(well, you could try).
To help you make the best use of your coins, this article suggests 15 places you can bring your coins to and exchange them for cash (for free or for a low fee).
Be warned, however, that self-checkout kiosks are suggested in this article as places you can use your coins at. The reason for this is that doing so helps make the best out of your coins (by paying for something you will pay for anyway) without wasting your time rolling coins or having to pay an exchange fee. If you’re not interested in this option, just skip the self-checkout kiosks section.
15 Places to Bring Your Coins to Get Cash for Free (or Cheap)
Table of Contents
1. Local bank or credit union
Your local bank or credit union branch may let you exchange coins for cash via coin-counting machines, letting you to roll your own coins, or take coins in another way. However, not every bank branch has this option and it may vary from branch to branch. For example, while one location may have a coin-counting machine, another location will make you roll your coins.
Prior to exchanging coins for cash, you may want to call your local branch to check if they take coins. Additionally, check to see if they will roll the coins for you or if you need to do so yourself. Will you need to buy the roll papers yourself or will it be provided when you get there (you should ask nicely if you can get these papers for free. Maybe they will give you a few free sheets)? Is there a fee if you want to turn in coins for cash?
Additionally, check to see if members and non-members can trade in coins for cash at a local branch. Many banks let members trade in coins for cash for free but will charge a fee for non-members. Or, they might not allow non-members to trade in coins at all. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to check.
QuikTrip is a chain of gas stations and convenience stores that operates in 11 states. There are over 800 QuikTrip locations, including both convenience stores and gas stations. In light of the national coin shortage, QuikTrip is offering to trade cash for your coins for free – that means there are no fees when exchanging coins for cash.
If QuikTrip does not have enough cash when you cash in your coins, the store will give you a QuikTrip gift card for the remaining balance.
If you don’t want to spend time counting and rolling coins, checking to see whether your bank will let you exchange coins for cash or not, or potentially get charged a fee for exchanging coins for cash, you may use your coins to partially or fully pay for purchases. Most cashiers do not enjoy counting coins and giving a cashier a lot of coins may gain you some glares from other customers for holding up the line. Therefore, self-checkout kiosks may be the best option for paying with coins.
Here are some stores that have self-checkout kiosks that accept cash and coins.
Safeway is not only one of the companies that have self-checkout kiosks, but also one of the stores that accept Apple Pay (this information is for those who want to use contactless payment to pay for their groceries). There are currently more than 1,300 Safeway stores throughout the United States. Thus, you may be able to find a local Safeway store near you if you aren’t already shopping at one.
Ah, the famous retailer chain giant! Walmart does not only operate in the United States but also has locations and offices in over 20 countries. There are over 3,500 Walmart Supercenters throughout the United States and Walmart is present in all 50 states. Most Walmart Supercenters have self-checkout kiosks that accept cash, coins, and a debit or credit card. Some kiosks may not accept cash, but these exceptions will have a sign or poster to inform you of this fact.
Did you know that “75% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Target store”, according to the Target corporate page on the Target website? There are almost 1,900 Target stores nationwide and they are present in all 50 states. Most Target stores have self-checkout kiosks. These self-checkout kiosks accept cash, coins, or a debit or credit card.
Lowe’s operates in all 50 states throughout the United States. As of May 2020, there are almost 2,000 Lowe’s stores (1,970 stores) in both the United States and Canada. However, not every Lowe’s store has self-checkout kiosks, although most of them do. A complaint that a few people have about Lowe’s self-checkout kiosks is that sometimes they reject money bills, even when they are not counterfeit. Therefore, if you find yourself frustrated with a self-checkout kiosk at Lowe’s because it is not taking your money, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the staff there.
7. Home Depot
Home Depot is a popular spot for people who want to buy building items or equipment as well as home improvement products. Home Depot has over 1,900 stores in the United States and over 2,000 stores worldwide as of February 2020.
While many Home Depot stores have self-checkout kiosks, it may not always be possible to use them. Unless you are buying smaller items that you can scan like school supplies, you may need to talk to the staff at the store. Considering many people who go to Home Depot want to buy things such as wood and dirt, human contact may be unavoidable (sorry shy introverts). However, if you have a chance to use the self-checkout kiosks, don’t hesitate to use your coins to (partially or fully) pay for your order.
Most CVS stores have self-checkout kiosks, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic to encourage less human contact between customers and store employees. CVS is owned by Walgreens, one of the United State’s largest pharmacy store chain. There are over 9,000 CVS locations throughout the United States, therefore you should be able to find a local CVS store with minimal difficulty. You should be able to insert both cash and coins at CVS’s self-checkout kiosks.
As of February 2020, Kroger has over 2,700 stores in 42 states throughout the United States. While most Kroger local stores have self-checkout kiosks, Kroger has recently implemented a new policy for customers that pay with cash: if a customer pays more than the order’s total value, he or she will not get coins as change. Instead, the “leftover” will be applied to the customer’s next purchase or the customer can choose to round up the total and donate the extra amount instead.
The store may still give you a change in coins if they have some. However, if you are trying to get rid of coins (why else would you read this article?), you may want to opt for one of the other two options instead.
Albertsons aims to have self-checkout kiosks in all of its stores. While I have no doubt Albertsons will reach its goal in the future, right now not every store may have self-checkout kiosks. However, most of Albertson’s stores do have self-checkout, so bring your coins there to partially or fully pay for your purchase. With over 2,000 stores in 34 states, you may be able to find a nearby Albertsons store if you live in one of the 34 states Albertsons operates in.
Compared to most of the grocery retailer names in this list that have thousands of local stores throughout the United States, ShopRite only has over 300 stores in just six states. Therefore, you may find one of the ShopRite local stores only if you live in one of these states: New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Albeit relatively fewer than the other big retailers, most ShopRite stores have self-checkout kiosks you can use.
Coinstar is fairly popular and most of the time, Coinstar machines are available at a popular grocery stores like Walmart or Safeway. You can visit coinstar.com to find the closest Coinstar machine. Otherwise, a Coinstar machine can often be found at one of the grocery stores listed below. However, to be sure that your local grocery store has a Coinstar machine, you may want to double-check via the Coinstar website or call the local store to confirm.
Operating in 35 states and focusing on metropolitan cities, Safeway is often a popular grocery shopping destination in the cities where they are present. At many of these local Safeway stores, you can easily find a Coinstar machine inside the store.
With local stores in every state except four territories (U.S. Virgin Islands, Samoa [America-owned], Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands), CVS Pharmacy is a name that is fairly easy to find. Many CVS Pharmacy stores have a Coinstar machine inside, so if you ever go there you may want to bring your coins (after verifying that there is a Coinstar machine, of course).
14. Fred Meyer
Fred Meyer is owned by the Kroger Company. There are over 130 Fred Meyer stores in the Western United States, specifically the states of Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and California. Portland, Oregon is the city with the highest number of Fred Meyer stores. At some Fred Meyer local stores, there is a Coinstar machine available.
Again, we meet the retail giant Walmart that sells almost everything at a fairly decent price. Most Walmart stores have a Coinstar machine available, although this is not the case with every store. Since Walmart is present in all 50 states, it may not be too hard to find a local Walmart store that has a Coinstar machine available.
Using Coins at Self-Checkout Kiosks
You may have heard of Coinstar kiosks that exchange cash for your coins. In fact, you may have seen one while shopping at a local grocery store. However, unless you are willing to accept gift cards in exchange for the coins you are trading in, Coinstar charges almost 12% (11.9%) of your money as service fees, which is quite a hefty fee. Therefore, this article presents self-checkout kiosks as an alternative to Coinstar kiosks. I understand that this alternative does not convert your coins to cash, but it is a great option to use your coins without paying a fee or trying to look for a bank branch that will take your coins without making you spend a long time rolling the coins up.
Most self-checkout kiosks accept both cash and coins. However, most of them only accept up to a certain amount of money in coins. Therefore, you may want to insert coins slowly and not dump a whole bag of coins into one of these self-checkout kiosks. It is not a big problem if you pay in coins more than the allowed amount, though. Most likely the coins will go straight to the slot for change and get right back to you.
The self-checkout machine may take a minute or two to count the coins, but it is much less time-consuming than rolling coins. Using coins at self-checkout kiosks is almost always free of charge, therefore it may be a better option than using Coinstar kiosks. If you do not have enough cash or coins to cover your purchase, you can always pay the remaining balance with a debit or credit card.
Exchanging Coins for Cash Using Coinstar Machines
Coinstar machines may be one of the most familiar ways to exchange coins for cash. Coinstar used to charge a lower service fee, but currently, the company takes 11.9% of whatever amount you are exchanging. That is almost $12 for each $100 you exchange.
Thankfully, there is a way to get around this service fee: exchanging your coins for a gift card instead of taking home some cash. If you choose to receive a gift card, such as an Amazon gift card (Amazon is everywhere these days), the 11.9% fee will be waived. Additionally, if you choose to donate your coins, this fee will also be waived. If you have a small amount of change and do not want to get a gift card or do not think a gift card is worth it, donating your money may be a good option. Not to mention, you get to make a change (no pun intended) in someone’s life potentially and give back to the community.
Let’s review the four options you have to make the most out of your coins:
- Find a local bank or credit union branch and see if they accepts coins for cash
- Go to a QuikTrip location and exchange coins for cash
- Use coins to pay for purchases partially or fully at self-checkout kiosks
- Use Coinstar machines and exchange coins for cash (11.9% fee) or a gift card (no fees)
Each option has pros and cons, and these pros and cons may differ from person to person. For example, one person may have access to a QuikTrip local store, but another has access to self-checkout kiosks. I hope this article has been helpful in helping you find the best option for your coins.