If you have loose change that you'd prefer to have in the form of dollar bills, you have a number of options to exchange it. Some banks offer machines that will automatically count your coins and exchange them for dollars, though some charge a fee for the privilege. Other banks will allow you to exchange your coins with a teller as long as they are pre-counted and wrapped. Some supermarkets and other businesses also feature coin-counting machines, though those usually charge a fee.
Some banks and credit unions offer machines that will automatically sort through a collection of coins to exchange them for dollar bills. Some offer this service free to customers, or even to people who don't hold accounts there, while others charge fees in certain circumstances, such as for people without existing accounts or exchanges over a certain amount.
Some banks that used to offer coin-counting machines have also removed them citing maintenance costs, accuracy issues or lack of interest from customers, so it can be worth checking with local banks to make sure they still offer the service before bringing in your loose change.
Supermarkets often also have coin-counting machines, though they usually charge a fee, typically a percentage of the amount exchanged. Some machines will allow you to exchange coins for a gift card for free or donate the funds to a charity without taking a cut.
Wrapping Them Up
Many banks will accept coins if they're previously sorted by value, counted and wrapped in containers holding a certain number of coins. You can bring them up to the teller counter to exchange them for paper currency or deposit them into your account. Wrapping up coins can be tedious, but banks will often provide the wrappers free of charge and won't charge for exchanging them for dollar bills.
Some coin-counting machines have also been caught shortchanging customers, so if you're concerned that the machines in your local banks or supermarkets aren't accurate, you might prefer to wrap your own counts.
If you need to wrap a lot of coins, you can also purchase machines that will sort and count your coins at home. If you only need to exchange a small number of coins occasionally, it may make more sense to spend the time wrapping them by hand or using a paid sorting machine at a bank or grocery store rather than buying equipment you'll only use occasionally.
- Local businesses may give you paper money for rolled coins if they are short on change.
- Some convenience stores, grocery stores and general merchandiser have coin-counting machines. The New York Times reports that such machines may charge a commission of nearly 10 percent. However, you may be able to exchange coins for gift cards to popular businesses at no extra charge.
Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.