Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

Coinstar Counts Money For Free?

Now you’re probably thinking “What? Coinstar now counts my coins for free? Are they crazy?

And they answer is:  Why yes, Coinstar is NUTS!

Okay, not really…  I just couldn’t resist writing that.

Coinstar is the company that owns those cool machines that let you pour your pocket change into them and they count the coins for you and give you a cash voucher minus their 9.8% service charge.  That fee 9.8% is awful close to 10%, huh!

Since I would love to have a 10% (or 9.8%) return on my investments, I just couldn’t justify spending 10% of my money just to have it counted!  In fact, to me it seemed like highway robbery.

Needless to say, the old Coinstar and I were not friends!!!

But that was yesterday, now I’ve had a change of heart, and here’s why:

In what I consider a brilliant move on Coinstar part, they now offer gift cards for the full value of your coins, in exchange for their service instead of charging their normal 9.8% fee! How cool is that!!!

Just to name a few of the participating companies in the new Coinstar gift card deal, here is a short list:

  • Amazon
  • Starbucks
  • JCPenny’s
  • Old Navy
  • Lowe’s
  • CVS
  • Gap
  • Regal Cinemas

I’m willing to bet that the list of companies participating in the Coinstar program will continue to grow!

So in the past, whereas I would never consider wasting my money on such a service, it may now be my preferred route.  Time is money, and the time it takes me to count and roll coins vs using Coinstar while shopping for groceries is a no-brainer!

Not only am I going to use their service…  I’m also going to take a hard look at their stock (Ticker: CSTR, current priced at $46.11) as an investment.  I can now imagine people throwing their coins in a piggy bank as a Christmas fund, or similar type of plan, then cashing them in at Coinstar machines!

Oh did I mention that Coinstar is also the company that owns the RedBox machines that are now found practically everywhere!

If Coinstar does a good job marketing their new service, I think as a side benefit, people in mass might start to save their coins at a higher rate than previously recent years.

If I seem a little excited about this new, well I am!  This new coinstar program is a win-win-win!  A win for me by making my life easier, a win for coinstar via higher participation rate from consumers and a win for the companies participating in the Coinstar program via increased sales!

It’s rare to have triple wins from a business change like this!

Do you think as I do, that the new service model that Coinstar offers is a win?  Do you think that you will start to use such a service, especially while you grocery shop?  How about as an investment, do you think Coinstar now looks undervalued?  Will you look at pocket change differently now, I think I might!



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Oh, and by the way, this I’m not getting paid for this and I don’t own any Coinstar stock (at least not yet)…

24 Responses to Coinstar Counts Money For Free?

  1. Hey, wasn’t this always free? I always exchange coins for Amazon gift cards. Maybe they’ve added more merchants lately, but I’m pretty certain gift card exchange was always commission-free.

    Like you I could never justify paying 9% for counting coins! 🙂

    • Hmm, maybe! This is the first I’ve heard about in in my area. I think previously it was only available in select areas of the country.

      I think it’s now more broadly available.

  2. I have been using Coinstar for giftcards for quite awhile now. It is the best to cash in your change in December, when they usually give a ten dollar bonus gift card for certain merchants.

    • I was surprised to learn that they owned Redbox. I guess I heard that they owned Redbox, but I didn’t know they also owned the change machines.

      I don’t own any of their stock, but I’ll be following it for sure!

  3. So coinstar is not charging the consumer for counting the change! HMMMM! I wonder how much these vendors are paying coinstar? Maybe they consider the cost as advertising. I guess it is a win win.

    • Yeah, I’m sure Coinstar is taking a cut in profit too. I’m betting they expect to make it up by more transactions…

      I think it’s a pretty good move on their part 🙂

  4. This certainly helps quite a bit, and beats paying those ridiculously high charges. Getting full value in a gift card that you will actually use (and won’t have to go out of your way to do it) is a better solution. It changes my view of Coinstar machines!

    • Me too! I’m stoked to see if there are any Coinstar machines around where we grocery shop! I love to save gas by making using the grocery gas to do the Coinstar thing 🙂

  5. I recently did an article on them myself, though I had a different opinion lol.

    @Krantcents – The full fee is passed over to the vendor! They might consider it advertising, but hey, selling and overhead costs are what drive up the prices that are passed through to the consumer.

    Also, they take 7.5% off the top for charitable donations, which kinda irks me.

    Let me also point out that many of those gift cards can be purchased at a discount from reputable online sites like Plastic Jungle, so I still think you are losing money going this route.

    Lastly, I wouldnt be too quick to buy their stock. Redbox is definitely a part of their growth right now, and while they have much lower overhead costs than BB does, they suffer from a similar outdated business model….tangible DVDs and your physical presence to rent them! Not to mention that Warner Bros., Fox Studios, and possibly more studios to come, have worked out deals with Blockbuster and other video stores, to provide them with DVDs 30 days prior to Netflix and Redbox. Also, BB has similar kiosks with available FREE coupons easily found online for renting…this is how I rent just about everything! Coinstar machines are a business model too easily duplicated, and at some point raising their fees is going to turn their customers away.

    • Hmm, some great counterpoints! I’ll have to do some more homework before I take the plunge and buy some of their stock…

      I think it all comes down to management, and I’m hoping that Coinstar has a better managment team than BB. I will definitely do more research first.

      Thank for the great points.

    • I think I would buy mostly Starbucks gift cards. I state that they are for my sister for Xmas, but I’m pretty sure I would use a few too. 🙂

      Although with Amazon, what can’t you buy?…

  6. We’re on the same wavelength as I recently wrote about my local Coinstar machine as well. It is a brilliant, win-win-win situation. Will be interesting to see their partnership list grow. That will make them even more appealing to me.

    • It was an article my local newspaper, I just read the title then went out to Coinstar’s website. Seems like a pretty smart move on their part!

      I think I will use their service this year…

  7. I mentioned this to my husband and he looked like I was trying to steal his Christmas gifts…he actually enjoys counting change! I knew he was little weird when I married him, lol…

    • Unfortunately, I’ll still be counting the kids change… I want them to have money instead of gift cards…

      But the excess change that I have laying around is fair game!!!

  8. I never use coinstar. I just go to the local TD Bank( I don’t even have an account there) they allow me to use the coin counter in the bank without any fee. Then I walk 2 steps to the counter and get the full value of my change in CASH.

  9. Wonder if coinstar gets enough buisness, could stimulate the economy. Coinstar said last year it converted almost 7 billion dollars in coins into dollar bills. Thats 7 billion dollars that was just sitting in people’s couches and coin jars, untouched for spending.

    • that’s some pretty clever thinking Jason!

      I think you’re right, they probably could make a difference. Especially if they advertised. Overall, it seems like they are a pretty smart company. Especially with the RedBox revenue stream. Even though online streaming is starting to get big, I always see people at the kiosks getting the latest DVD.

  10. Its is highway robbery! And when people need money to the point im counting out change why would i put it on an Old Navy giftcard. They dont put gas in my car or food in my Kids mouth. NO THANKS!