In writing about our personal experiences, we sometimes mention products & services that we use or recommend. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
Finally! Now there’s a way to get CASH — penny for penny — for all your loose change.
Well, sort of. The equivalent of cash, actually.
We’re talking pre-paid gift cards (for use at popular department stores & services) and e-certificates (for use at well-known online merchants).
The best part: It is penny for penny. And it doesn’t cost you a thing!
As a rule, whenever you take your coins to one of those coin changer machines (found in grocery & department stores), they keep a fraction of your money as a “transaction fee” or a “processing fee.”
Did You Know?…
Coinstar coins-to-cash machines keep 8.9% of all the loose change you cash in for bills.
But… not when you choose “e-certificate” or “pre-paid gift card” at a Coinstar machine!
Current Brick & Mortar and Online Merchants Participating
Just remember to choose “e-certificates” or “pre-paid gift cards” before you start the process at any Coinstar coin counting machine.
- Amazon MP3
- AMC Theatres
- Bass Pro Shops
- Build-A-Bear Workshops
- Cold Stone Creamery
- Forever 21
- Gap Options
- Red Robin
- Southwest Airlines
- Sports Authority
- The Home Depot
- Toys R Us
- Xbox Live
Good Things About Using Coinstar Machines:
- You get to choose the store or online merchant
- It’s fast — the Coinstar machine counts up to 600 coins per minute!
- It’s convenient — Coinstar’s retail locations include major supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchants, convenience stores, and restaurants
- It’s easy — simply drop your coins directly from your jar into the big green coin counting machine.
- You don’t have to wrap or sort your coins before using the Coinstar machine – Coinstar accepts any quantity of unsorted coins in your local currency.
Coinstar’s patented technology allows our processors to filter out foreign coins and other debris. However, these items may not be returned by our processors so it is a good idea to remove such items as Eisenhower silver dollars; 1943 steel pennies; foreign, damaged or sticky coins; pure silver coinage and other debris from your stored coins.” — CoinStar FAQ
The Only Downside That I Can See…
After you leave the Coinstar machine and you go to redeem your e-certificate or pre-paid gift card, you will probably order items totaling more than the amount of your certificate. I mean, what are the odds that a merchant has an item for the exact amount that’s on your gift card? That never happens.
As a result, you’ll probably end up buying more than you might have originally intended.
But, the way I look at it, since I’m choosing a merchant that I like and I’m familiar with already, then I won’t really be inconvenienced at all because I’d spend it either in their store or online at some point anyway.
Where To Find Coinstar Change Machines
Coinstar self-service kiosks, point-of-sale solutions and entertainment services are found in convenient, high-traffic retail locations, typically at the front-end of the store. Coinstar’s retail locations include major supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchants, convenience stores, and restaurants. — Coinstar
For the record, there are 4 Coinstar locations near me which offer the gift cards and e-certificates. Since we use Amazon.com a lot… this is good news for us!
Did You Know?
You can also use Coinstar machines to make donations to popular charities.
This makes the process of donating to reputable organizations a cinch!
Here are some of the charities:
- American Red Cross
- Autism Speaks
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Change Making Change
- Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
- Earth’s Birthday Project
- Feeding America
- Ronald McDonald House Charities
- The Humane Society of the United States
- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- World Wildlife Fund
What I Learned Today…
Coin wrappers are definitely a thing of the past!
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).