If you have a stash of loose coins in a jar sitting on a shelf somewhere, your country needs you.

That’s because there’s a shortage of coins circulating in the U.S. economy these days, brought on by widespread pandemic lockdowns. With stores closed, cash transactions plummeted. Coins that would have ordinarily been spent have instead remained in pants pockets, purses, and piggy banks.

“The places where you go to give your coins, and get credit at the store and get cash — you know, folding money — those have not been working,” said Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, in comments to Congress on Wednesday.

“Stores have been closed. So the whole system of flow has kind of, had come to a stop,” he said.

“The places where you go to give your coins, and get credit at the store and get cash — you know, folding money — those have not been working.”Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve

Local Banks Faced with Limited Coin Supplies

Now that businesses are quickly reopening, banks are finding that the demand for small change is outstripping the available supply.

“We are actively managing our coin inventory and working with customers to meet their coin needs after the Federal Reserve put limitations on coin deliveries to all financial institutions nationwide,” said Yahaira Garcia-Perez, Central Valley spokesperson for Wells Fargo.

The shortage was made worse after the U.S. Mint decreased the production of coins — really all currency — as it worked to protect its employees from COVID-19.

So how can coin hoarders help their country in its time of need? By cashing in their spare change for more of that “folding money” that Jerome Powell mentioned.

Coin Cash-In Options

GV Wire℠ looked into the best options for trading a pile of coins for a stack of bills. Here’s what we found.

“We are actively managing our coin inventory and working with customers to meet their coin needs after the Federal Reserve put limitations on coin deliveries to all financial institutions nationwide.”Wells Fargo spokesperson Yahaira Garcia-Perez

For convenience and simplicity, those big, green Coinstar kiosks you see in your local supermarket or Walmart can’t be beat. There are at least 20 scattered throughout Fresno, according to Google Maps.

As Coinstar’s website (and numerous YouTube videos) show, the process couldn’t be simpler. Just add your loose coins to the tray, slowly pour them into the feeder, and watch the screen as it tallies up your total.

When your coins have all been captured and counted, the machine will dispense a voucher that you’ll take to a store cashier for your cash payment.

The Cost of Convenience

There can be a cost for this convenience, however. Coinstar takes an 11.9% fee for cash transactions, which will cost you nearly $12 for every $100 in coins you cash in.

But you can avoid the fee entirely by opting to take your payout as a credit (similar to a gift card) from a range of well-known retailers, restaurants and entertainment services — or by donating your proceeds to charity.

Coinstar says it processes 43 billion coins every year through its network of more than 21,000 kiosks worldwide. But the company says COVID-19 lockdowns slowed its business, which in turn has meant fewer coins being “recycled” back into the economy

“(D)ue to decreased retail foot traffic, we have seen lower coin volumes,” Coinstar CEO Jim Gaherity told GV Wire℠.

“As lockdowns end, coin transactions and volumes through Coinstar kiosks are growing and, accordingly, we’ve been making more frequent coin pick-ups to help get coins back in circulation,” Gaherity said. “We expect to see consumers resume their former level of coin usage and recycling that’s been partially deferred since mid-March.”

Taking It to the Bank

Hauling your coin stash to a nearby bank would seem to be a logical choice — but that option is not as straightforward as it seems.

Many banks and credit unions limit coin exchanges to particular branches and many provide services only to account holders. Some also rely on the same Coinstar kiosks you’ll find in retail locations, though the cash-out fee can be lower.

Chase Bank will accept wrapped coins from account holders and non-customer alike with no fee. That’s almost unheard of among the big national banks.

That’s the situation at Golden 1 Credit Union. Coinstar kiosks are available at three branches in the Fresno area, including Fig Garden, Fashion Fair and Sierra Vista in Clovis.

Anyone can use the machines to exchange their coins, a Golden 1 representative said, but account holders pay a lower transaction fee of 5% while those without accounts pay a 9% rate.

Rolled Coins Can Save You

Noble Credit Union offers a Coinstar kiosk only at its Airport branch on Fine Ave. north of McKinley. The coin exchange fee is 4.9% for account holders and 9.9% for anyone without an account, a representative said. Noble also accepts coins sorted and rolled in standard wrappers from its members for deposit into their accounts at no cost.

Meanwhile, Chase Bank will accept wrapped coins from account holders and non-customer alike with no fee. That’s almost unheard of among the big national banks.

“Most of them have a policy of not converting coins to bills for non-customers,” a recent article on the website noted.

But a Chase representative contacted by GV Wire℠ confirmed that their local branches will convert up to $100 in rolled coins to paper money for those without an account. The bank’s regular customers can bring in a larger amount of wrapped coins to deposit, of course. Chase branches will even provide a supply of paper coin wrappers on request.

Do you know of another bank or credit union that will exchange coins for bills? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them here.

75 Responses

  1. Tyler

    All that needs to be done to solve this coin shortage is to have coin star waive their 11.9% fee for 60 days. Would be a nice gesture coming from a company that does so little and takes so much

      • TJ

        We have all witnessed many of our local bank branches being permanently closed. My question is why is there still coin in the vaults of these closed branches during a “coin shortage”? When will the banks distribute this excess inventory nobody is talking about?

    • Joseph

      Completely agree. Are they really so concerned with “help” from communities and the smart individuals who actually saved their coins, while still raking in a profit? I think not. When does greed end and an individual, business or community actually GIVE back out of a desire to HELP?

      • David

        The biggest scam is coin counters,,coin is weighed a pound of quarters is 20 bucks, only quarter weighing different would be silver which gets thrown out machine,should be weighing,not counting..Same as gold

    • Uni

      Same reason why im not turning my coins in much less anyone else. Coinstar is a pretty selfish company, over 10% ??? Thats just rediculous. My change will stay with me until it can be correctly recycled back into the community

      • JillAnne

        Do you not understand what it costs to purchase the coin machines, have them placed in all of these convenient places, manage the inventories of coin and cash, etc?… You are so self centered that you expect others to work for nothing just to please (people) like you?

      • Paul Hall

        Excessive rates of exchange to offset the cost of equipment? Really? How many times over must consumers pay for the machines? Labor cost to service these machines…when they are not being used? Again does pass the logic test.

        This will all be an excuse to do away with paper money and coins and make it to where youbmust have a payment card to make purchases so the government can track individuals and their behavior. Conspiracy theory? No just a prediction based on logical observations.

      • Jeff Schmie

        For anyone who feels they charge too much should buy some machines, pay the retailer to have them in their store, pay the people to fix it, empty it, get the coins rolled, and transport the machines and coins to banks.

        Just think how rich you will be by beating Coin Star at their own game by charging less and getting a lions share of the business… of course you may also tie up tens of thousands of dollars in capital if not millions and start to understand the cost of this service that nobody is forcing you to use. I don’t use it… I just roll them up in paper rolls from Dollar Tree (also a cost) and spend them. Many stores like getting rolled change to use.

      • Ruth Rodriguez

        Thank you I agree I have coins for days for one of my little piggy banks I want at least 2k I don’t know what valuables I have In there ‍♂️

    • Charles Gilbert

      Amen, I have a rather large container full of pennys, quarters, dimes, etc, however, I don’t feel like paying my hard earned and long earned cash just those folks can get richer.

      • LW

        I always empty my change at Coinstar and have never paid a penny. I take my “cash” back as an Amazon or grocery gift card penny for penny. Super easy.

      • C.X.J.

        As I mentioned above you can roll your coins and trade it in for cash for no fee at a lot of mom & pop stores. They’ll gladly swap with you

      • Desert

        What are poeple gonna do when this does happen and it’s too late?
        We’ll probably say
        ” I knew that was gonna happen” but if you get all the credit for knowing it was gonna happen ,
        Unfortunately it does no good for the world unless you did something about it.

    • Joe

      For sure…they make money off poor people…I have a half water jug full of coins…I refuse to put quarters in coin star…I will probably roll them up soon,and take them to the bank to help out

    • Janice

      I agree that this would be a great gesture! But I don’t believe this coin shortage is for real! It seems so far fetched!

      • Brady Thomas Steeves

        I don’t think so either. Who was actually buying stuff with exact change before all this happened? Doesn’t make much sense to me.

      • TJ

        Thinking back I believe this is the 4th time we have experienced a coin shortage in our country. Correct me if I am wrong, but we had coin shortages during WWI, WWII and the early 1960’s up until we came off the gold standard.

      • Thomas Sperhac

        of course there’s no coin shortage; they are preparing to go for a reset to a paperless and coinless currency in the name of the Covid virus
        which is ringing in the new World order, but people for some reason, are complying with all ‘they’ tell us to do, instead of us standing up for our rights;
        We, the People are supposed to run the government, all they do is paid for by us, every haircut, plane-ride, tank, and gun, etc.; if we don’t demand for things to go our way, we will lose our rights, and we’ll deserve to lose them because we are watching them step on our rights and we are programmed not to resist and are doing nothing to stop it

      • A

        Really??? Have you been out lately?? Do you think these companies are lying?? Lolsmh

      • Kat

        I dunno know. Bussiness ARE closed and all the “on line” shopping is a fact. So there has to be way less coins out there to make change for cutomers Right? At a local mom & pop food shop my family supports during the pandemic try to give me MORE (a dollar bill) money back after a purchase. They didn’t have the change. Of course I declined the bill.

    • Benjamin Barkley

      They don’t all charge that much, I have noticed their fees are different in different regions for whatever unknown reasons.

    • Robin

      I agree with the other comments. I collect banks (piggy, just not the pig ones). I have over 30. I’ve given over 6 to our 6 grandchildren, for them to store up their change. I did turn in $1000.00 of coins, just not lately.

    • Cliff

      Does so little compared to what? The previous coin counting elves that lived in the cupboards? They came out with a very convenient service and they charge a fee. Obviously theres not a lot of competition so it must be reasonable or you’d see huge competition but you dont. You know you can also buy a bottle of Coke in bulk for 75 cents but pay 2.50 at a machine. You pay for convenience.

    • Bill

      There’s no shortage they are hoarding them so they can do away with them or remove the president’s faces from them. All of a sudden a shortage that just doesn’t happen.

    • Kat

      What a great idea! I have been sitting on coffee cans full of change. Rolling them and putting your info one wrapper too is such a large hinderance. CoinStar SHOULD always accept coins at a much lower & reasonable rate. And a bank that has our accounts SHOULD accept loose coins “fee-free” if that money is credited to account. Tired of everyone $ from us.

  2. Bill Allman

    I have over $30,000 in coins but will not take them a coin star but if they waive their fees absolutely I would if not I’m saving up to 50,000 to pay off my house.

    • C.X.J.

      Agreed. You’d think in this time of a pandemic they would waive their fees as I’m sure these machines were paid off a long time ago. Maintaining them costs next to nothing and would garner good publicity if they were to waive the fees for the time being. Working for free aka volunteering is not as hard as people make it out to be. A lot of people aren’t working, the last thing they need are more fees.

      Same goes with ATMs. That is pure greed. Especially the ones in banks owned by banks. They are serviced by employees and again would garner good publicity if they were to waive the ATM fees at least until people are back to work.

    • neb

      sorry but it dont make any sense to “save up to pay off house” as ur still accruing interest
      you would be better to take ur 30k in change u have saved and pay it towards principal on ur loan then you would not be paying interest on that 30k as it is u got 50k loan ur paying on wile ur alleged 30k in change is earning u nothing

  3. C.X.J.

    NET federal credit union in northeast Pennsylvania has their own machine in the lobby. You dump the change, it spits out a receipt, you take that to the teller and they deposit it in your account (if you have an account with them) then you can either keep it in your acct or they will give you the cash back. This service is free of charge for acct holders. Maybe all or most federal credit unions follow the policy, no sure.

    I don’t know how big this credit union is but there are 2 of them in the Scranton area. If you don’t have an acct with them you will be charged a fee, not sure how much that fee is for non-members. I do agree Coinstar, etc. have too large of a fee. I’m sure these machines have been paid off long ago. So basically it’s just maintenance. Maybe at this time of pandemic someone can offer up their time for maintenance. There are some decent people out there that will do good and not charge people for services they perform. (I am one of them, but not in this scene per se) It’s called passing it on and being kind. But banks aren’t known for being kind. In this terrible time that we are all going through, some need to have a heart. Maybe train an employee in servicing the machines where they are located?

      • Scott

        I know this is a serious thread, but that made me laugh, Anthony… all seriousness forget coinstar and the coinstar sympathizer on this thread!!!

  4. Eric C

    The laws of supply and demand dictate that my pennies should each be worth about a dollar right now… Alas somehow Banks don’t see it that way.

  5. JAM

    Don’t we pay enough for everything else and you still want more to charge us to turn over our coins

  6. Bunny

    All Pilot and Flying J truck stops convert change to bills at a fee less than coin star

  7. Dan

    IMO every grocery store should buy and maintain their own coin counting machine with no fees. It should be for their convenience NOT ours, because change is legal tender and they have to accept it. Why should we pay 11 cents on the dollar to make their jobs easier?

  8. anthony V montoya

    you are worried over nothing … A coin shortage would only mean something if our currency was actually valueable.. its been decades since the fed reserve had enough in gold or silver pr anything of wealth to back every dollar printed. People wer being told to use cards so no need to hide ur pennies. This is why we killed Sadam hussain!! The US dollar is what international trade value is based . The world hates it cuz its unfair when we’re low on funds fed resev just prints more.. the value of oil is in dollars Sadam was trading oil based on yen if that caught on throughout world we d be done……thats why we will kill anyone that challenges our dollar like China is now.. trump doesn’t have the smarts to negotiate with China. China is waiting on our election and I can garuntee if trump stays we ll be at war

  9. Faruque Aziz KHAN

    I actually think the coin should be abolished. Let the Federal Govt buy back all the coins and use this time to take coins completely out of circulation. Now we use cards all the time and cash at times. The coin system is a complete nuisance. And if they do keep the coins, keep only quarters. Everything else should be just taken away.

  10. Susan

    Hi everyone I don’t normally respond two things like this but I was just wondering if anyone can help me out … I really feel like we need to have a voucher of some sort for our leftover change at these stores that are not giving us our change back … either to use at the store for a next purchase or to get it out of the Coinstar I guess … because we can’t just keep giving our money away like that I mean people are on a limited budget and those few cents help them get by … does anyone have any ideas?

  11. Tim

    This is the first step in getting rid of money and going to a permanent plastic card.

    • Hopsing

      Yep and people to blind to see it, how is it a coin shortage with 40b in coinage out here, I am not buying it

  12. Stephen

    Easy solution and promotion to nearly everyone of the suggestions listed above. Use self check out at your local grocery store or box box store…that is if you have one near by. Then, pay for your entire purchase with your loose change. Sure, it’s going to take a minute or more, but what are they going to do? Say you can’t pay in change? It’s legal tender. And you pay cent for cent (no fees) and the store gets the change that they do ever desire because of their cheaply printed signs at each register warning us all about a coin shortage. Win win for everyone involved.

  13. Justin

    In my opinion, if banks are short on coinage they should do what they need to do to fix the issue at hand. As far as I’m concerned, coin star could be sitting on yet another easy made fortune. If only they can get that 11% out of the banks or the reserve .. cant blame one (newer) company for outsmarting the tried and true banks and federal reserve. Good for coinstar!! P.s. the government takes way more than %11 from hardworking individuals.. “Coinstar Reserve Of America” kinda has a nice ring to it!

  14. Troy

    There can’t be a coin shortage because everything was shut down and everyone was buying over the internet there just trying to collect the currency to take it out of circulation so they can go to plastic so they can monitor how much you have and where you spend it all about controll think about it they say it’s because businesses starting back up them business are starting backup with the money they had when they were told they had to shut down they knew they needed that to start back up common sense everything just doesn’t add up and I do mean everything

  15. TJ

    Jill Anne,
    I can appreciate and respect your opinion that nobody should work for free. I challenge you to think of the big picture. Think of the impact that a coin shortage has on poor people, homeless, and small business owners. Now think of how few have the power and are in a position to put an end to this coin shortage. At the end of the day all I am saying is there is a easy and simple solution to this problem. What is more important? Stabalizing our country’s economy has to be more important than 2 months profit for Coinstar. If you had the opportunity to really make a difference what would you do?

  16. Paul Hall

    One way to adrwss ghe coin shortage is to get rid of the penny and wither round prices to nearest 5 cents. They, our government, started to replace the old pennies with new pennies….anyone think it doesnt cost more than one cent to make these new pennies? Why spend more to make an item than the overall value of the said item?

    Another potential reason for lack of coins, as well as paper money, in circulation is the uncleanliness of this money when there is the concern of passing on the covid virus. Not sure how long the virus can remain alive on these items but who really knows where these coins and bills have been, how many unclean hands have been in contact with said monies? Just a few thoughts…

  17. Lillie

    I am not buying the manufactured coin shortage. They wanted people to stop using coins and currency because of the Covid pandemic.

    But it is easy enough to sanitize it by running it through a uv light or spray the currency just like they do to the shopping carts.

  18. Shari Gray

    Anytime I needed to convert my coins to paper money I found that the local casino did it for free – anything is better than coinstar

  19. TG

    We decided to roll our coins and sell them to businesses in our area that are in need. Helps our community and helps us too.

    • Yolanda

      How much did you sell them for? 7,8or9 percent on the dollar It sounds like a good idea thanks for sharing

  20. Jeremiah

    I was at walmart the other day a d I saw young ladies with a jar of coins. As they approached the coinstar kiosk a customer service rep intercepted them. She said that she would take the coins and save them the fee of the coinstar. They agreed a d the woman took the jar not knowing the total contents and walked to what I believe is money room. It was fishy to me. I wouldn’t trust anyone with my change unless I knew exactly what I had in the jar before handing it over. Or go with them to count it. There is so much political chaos. I do not trust Walmart.

  21. Chad

    We shouldn’t even have coins minted under a dime, and haven’t needed them for 25 years. Govt needs to stop wasting our resources.

  22. Jagji

    I’ve got over $600 in coins that I’ve been saving for a rainy day for 20 years now. I would be inclined to cash them in now to help Murica with this shortage but i refuse to do it for a fee, i will not roll the coins, and frankly, if the need is that great they need to pay me for the coins.

  23. Carol Bennett

    I just tried to contact our two banks to see if they still accept loose coins – no they don’t. One used to take our container, have the coins counted in their machine and deposit the amount directly into our account. They no longer do that. I said, “If you don’t need another $400.00 in loose coins, I’ll take them to the CoinStar machine.” I guess the banks are not desperate yet. At the CoinStar, I can at least get an Amazon card for no fee and get 100% use of my money. Why in the world would a bank not allow customers to use their coin counter. Don’t tell me they literally don’t have one.

  24. Steph

    Why don’t the banks just buy change without a fee? Do they not hire anybody who can count or weigh money. I think 11% at a Coinstar is a high fee, but people only go there because banks have fees too (or are completely online). If coins are so needed by banks, why don’t they take change without a fee? They need it, but I’m supposed to pay them to take my change? No thanks. I have hundreds of dollars in quarters but I won’t be paying any money/ fee to “unload” it. I’ll either spend it or find someone honest to buy it dollar for dollar.

  25. Buck

    Coinstar sales franchises people just like Redbox. This is a business people are greedy. In a time of need you think people would help each other not so much.


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