How to Use a Coinstar Machine: Efficient Change Exchange and Reward Options

Have you ever found yourself with a jar full of loose change and thought about how you could easily turn it into cash? No fee Coinstar machines offer a convenient solution for this very problem. These kiosks can be found in various locations and are designed to help you exchange your coins for cash, eGift cards, or even make donations to your favorite charity.

Using a Coinstar machine is simple and easy. First, gather your loose change and visit a nearby kiosk – you can find one at Next, pour your coins into the machine and let it do the work of counting and sorting your change. Once the machine has finished, you have a few options to choose from: get cash with an 11.9% fee (fees may vary by location), select a NO FEE eGift Card from a variety of popular retailers, or make a donation to a charitable organization.

Keep in mind that eGift cards are the only option that does not incur a fee, allowing you to maximize the value of your change. As you can see, Coinstar machines offer a quick and hassle-free way to make the most of your spare change, turning it into something more useful and rewarding for you.

Locating a Coinstar Machine

To find a Coinstar machine near you, visit Coinstar’s official Find a Kiosk page. Here, you can input your address or zip code, and select the specific services you’re interested in. The search results will display a list of nearby kiosks and their locations.

Another option to locate Coinstar machines is to check major grocery store chains in your area. Commonly, you can find these machines near the entrance or customer service area. If you’re unsure whether a grocery store has a Coinstar kiosk, you can call the store directly and inquire about its availability.

Here are some key features to identify a Coinstar machine:

  • Green and yellow exterior design
  • Large touchscreen display
  • Accepts coins such as pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters
  • Provides options for cash, eGift cards, or charitable donations

Once you have located a Coinstar machine, follow the on-screen prompts to sort and count your loose change, and choose your desired payment method. Remember to bring any necessary identification or additional documents if required for the chosen payment method, such as a gift card or a charitable organization identifier.

Preparing Your Coins

Before using a Coinstar machine, it’s important to ensure your coins are properly prepared. This will help the process go smoothly and prevent any issues while using the machine. Follow these steps to get your coins ready for cashing in:

1. Gather all your loose change and place it in a container or bag. Make sure to include pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollar coins.

2. Sort through your coins to remove any foreign currency or other items that are not U.S. coins. Coinstar machines do not accept foreign coins, so it’s important to remove them ahead of time (Coinstar).

3. Check your coins for dirt and debris, as excessively dirty coins might not be read accurately by the machine. If needed, give your coins a quick rinse in water and allow them to dry before using the Coinstar machine.

4. Count your coins, if possible. This will give you an idea of how much money to expect from the machine and allow you to double-check the accuracy of the machine.

Once your coins are properly prepared, you’re ready to use the Coinstar machine to turn your loose change into cash, eGift cards, or charitable donations. Keep in mind that a small fee will be charged if you choose to receive cash (Cha Ching Queen).

Using the Coinstar Machine

Using a Coinstar machine is a convenient way to convert your loose change into cash, eGift cards, or charity donations. In this section, we will guide you through the process step by step.

Starting the Process

Locate a Coinstar kiosk near you and approach the machine. You will see a touchscreen display that provides instructions for using the machine. Begin by touching the screen to start the transaction.

Pouring Coins Into the Tray

Once you have started the transaction, you can begin pouring your coins into the tray. There is no need to sort, count, or wrap the coins before placing them in the tray, as the Coinstar machine will handle the sorting and counting for you.

It is advisable to remove any foreign, damaged, or non-coin items from your collection, as these can jam the machine and cause delays in your transaction. Additionally, you can find a few helpful tips for efficiently pouring your coins in this video below:

Selecting a Payout Option

Once your coins have been counted, the machine will present you with three payout options:

  • Cash voucher: A small service fee will be deducted from your total.
  • eGift card: A popular way to avoid any transaction fees, this option allows you to choose an eGift card from a range of participating merchants.
  • Charity donation: Make a fully tax-deductible donation to one of the supported charities, also without a service fee.

Choose the option that best suits your needs by touching the corresponding button on the screen. Depending on your selection, the machine will either print a voucher or send an email with your eGift card or tax-deductible receipt.

For cash vouchers, take the printed voucher to the cashier at the location where the Coinstar kiosk is situated to receive your cash. For eGift cards, follow the instructions in the email to redeem your card with the selected merchant.

Understanding the Fees and Charges

When using a Coinstar machine, it’s important to be aware of the fees and charges associated with different transaction options. This will help you make an informed decision on which option to choose based on your needs.

Coinstar generally charges a service fee of up to 12.5% of the value of the coins you’re exchanging, plus a transaction fee of 50 cents (source). However, you can avoid these fees by choosing the eGift Card or donation options.

Here are the three primary transaction options at Coinstar machines:

  1. Cash: If you want to convert your loose change into cash, expect a service fee of 11.9% (fees may vary by location) (source). Keep in mind that the percentage will be deducted from your coin value, so prepare to receive less than the total amount of your coins.
  2. eGift Card: Coinstar offers a NO FEE option if you choose to convert your coins into an eGift Card for participating retailers and restaurants. This option allows you to unlock the full value of your coins without paying any fees (source). However, the selection of available eGift Card options may be limited.
  3. Donations: If you would like to donate your coins to your favorite charity, Coinstar also offers a fee-free option for this. Donating your coins is tax-deductible, and the machine will generate a donation receipt for your records (source).

Remember to weigh the various options and fees before deciding on which type of transaction to choose at a Coinstar machine. Prioritize your own preferences and financial objectives to determine the most suitable option for you.

How to Use a Coinstar Machine: Efficient Change Exchange and Reward Options

Troubleshooting and Assistance

When using a Coinstar machine, you might encounter issues or challenges. Follow these troubleshooting tips and suggestions to make your Coinstar experience smooth and efficient.

First, ensure that your coins are clean and free of debris. Dirty or sticky coins might cause jams or hinder the counting process. If you have foreign coins mixed with your loose change, the machine might reject them due to differences in size and weight. Remove any foreign coins before using the Coinstar machine.

If you find that the machine is not accepting your coins or seems stuck, try gently shaking the coin tray to help move the coins along. If the issue persists, don’t hesitate to contact Coinstar customer service at 800-928-2274 for further assistance. They are available daily from 5am-8pm PT. You can also visit the Coinstar Help Center for more information and tips.

When selecting your payout option, remember that free coin counting is available if you choose an eGift Card, with more than 20 stores and restaurants to pick from. If you prefer cash, be prepared to pay an 11.9% coin processing fee, although fees may vary by location (source).

If you are interested in seeking rare coins while using the Coinstar machine, keep an eye on the rejection tray. Since older silver coins have different weights compared to modern ones, Coinstar may not accept them and they will end up in the rejection tray (source).

Alternative Coin Exchange Options

If you’re looking for other ways to exchange your loose change, fear not. There are several Coinstar alternatives:

Services differ among these institutions, so it’s a good idea to contact them directly to find out their specific coin exchange policies and fees. Alternatively, you can consider exchanging coins for gift cards or voucher codes.

Coinstar partners with various retailers and restaurants to offer cash-free options for exchanging your loose change. Some popular choices include:

  • Amazon
  • Applebee’s
  • Chili’s
  • GameStop
  • Gap
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Nike
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Starbucks
  • Texas Roadhouse

With these alternatives, you can avoid fees and turn your change into online credit, dining experiences, or shopping sprees.

By Lauren Hunter

I'm Lauren, and I've been on a journey to earn money and save money for most of my life. As the editor-in-chief of, and as a freelance writer, coach, musician, and entrepreneur, I love looking for new ways to make money and better ways to keep it. I'm also a wife and work-at-home mom (WAHM) to four kids, so budgeting is my middle name. I'm excited to be on this money journey with you!