How Do I Turn Change into Cash at a Bank?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

If you regularly use cash to pay for everyday items, you'll eventually accumulate a healthy stockpile of change. While your hoard remains manageable, it may be easily contained within a glass jar or plastic "change cup." Of course, it may not remain manageable for long. If you don't habitually reuse the change that you receive, your stockpile will quickly outgrow its original receptacle. When you finally decide to exchange your change for hard cash or deposit it in your bank account, you'll be forced to transport it in a heavy-duty bag or sack.

The Coinstar change machine is your default option for turning large amounts of change into cash. Found in many grocery stores, this device will manually sort your coins and spit out a voucher that can be exchanged for cash at its home store's customer service center. Of course, Coinstar charges 9 or 10 percent for its services. The company has become wildly successful simply by sorting spare change for millions of Americans each year.

If you're unwilling to pay Coinstar's service fee, you have a few other options. Unfortunately, all are likely to be more time-consuming than a visit to your local grocery store.

You could opt to use coin rollers to sort your change by hand. These may be available for free at your bank or for a few dollars per hundred-odd stack at your local office supply store. You'll need to obtain a separate supply of coin rollers for each denomination of coin and ensure that you have enough of them to hold all of your change. By organizing your change before heading to the bank, you'll simplify the counting process and cut down on the amount of time that the teller takes to make the exchange.

Some banks may be willing to handle your uncounted change. If you have a sufficient amount of change, a representative from the bank may take you aside to help you count the coins manually. In other cases, you may be directed to a branch that has a coin-sorting machine of its own. While fee-less coin sorting machines are relatively rare, they do exist in some busier bank branches. These machines operate like Coinstar units and may print out vouchers that can be exchanged for cash at the teller window. To ensure that the bank doesn't short you, get a rough idea of the value of your coin stockpile before making your visit.

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