4 Free and Low-Cost Ways to Exchange Coins to Cash

While there are many payment options these days from credit and debit to online payments, and even cashier-less shopping (Hello, Amazon Go!), you can’t really avoid racking up pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters here and there.

If you found out your piggy bank is full and looking for a way to exchange coins to cash, here are several tried-and-tested ways that are FREE or low-cost.

4 Ways to Exchange Your Coins to Cash

1. Exchange Coins to Cash at Banks

If you haven’t gone to your local bank and tried exchanging coins for bills before, there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed. Here’s why:

  • Not all banks accept coins.
  • Some banks accept coins for customers and non-customers (but charge non-customers a fee)
  • If a bank accepts coins, it’s highly likely there’s a fee to have your coins exchanged for bills.
  • Some banks will accept your coins ONLY if they are rolled.
  • Other banks will only exchange your coins if you’re depositing them into your account.

If you’re planning to go to the bank with a kid and his/her piggybank with you, make sure to check with your bank if they’re accepting coins first. It can be disappointing for kids to learn that they saved up for months only to be shooed away by our trusted banks.

Some banks OFFER REWARDS though. They’re rare, but it happens. Just like Wisconsin-based Community State Bank’s “Coin Buy Back” program in 2020, where they rewarded $5 for every $100 worth of coins exchanged.

So which banks accept coins, then? Here are some banks that are known to exchange coins:

  • Bank of America (roll your coins first)
  • Capital One (roll your coins first)
  • Chase (roll your coins first)
  • Citibank (roll your coins first; prepare to pay fees)
  • Community Savings Banks (requirements vary)
  • First County Bank
  • Peoples United
  • US Bank (accept only for current customers)
  • Wells Fargo (allows non-customers, but coins should be rolled)
  • Western Credit Union

There may be others more, especially at community banks and credit unions, but it’s hard to say… since every bank has its own coin acceptance policy.

  • PROS of Exchanging Coins to Cash at Banks: Convenient, can be deposited into your account.
  • CONS of Exchanging Coins to Cash at Banks: Some banks do not accept coins. Varying policies can be frustrating.

Call your bank before bringing the coins with you to be 100% sure, especially if they’re too heavy to be lugging around from one bank to the next. Ask the bank if:

  • Do they accept customers or non-customers exchanging coins for cash?
  • If they accept coins, should they be rolled or not?
  • Are the coin wrappers are free or do you need to purchase roll papers first?
  • What fees do you need to pay?

2. QuikTrip

QuickTrip is a chain of gas stations and convenience stores you can find across 11 states and at over 800 locations. QuikTrip welcomes anyone who wishes to trade coins for cash. The service is FREE, too!

If you live near a QuikTrip location, you can even bring your piggy banks there and QuikTrip employees will handle the counting for you. They appreciate rolled coins, but for now, it isn’t a requirement.

In instances where the QuikTrip location doesn’t have enough cash to turn your coins into bills, you can receive a QuikTrip gift card if you’re fine with it.

  • PROS of QuikTrip: The service is free. No need to roll coins.
  • CONS of QuikTrip: Not everyone has a QuikTrip near them. Plus, there’s a possibility that the QuikTrip location won’t have enough cash available to exchange your coins.

Is there a QuikTrip near you? Check here.

3. Coin-Counting Machine Coinstar (Paid and Free Methods)

If you don’t have a local bank with a coin exchange program or QuikTrip location near you, your next best bet is a Coinstar kiosk.

These Coinstar machines are found in major grocery stores and drug stores. You can find a Coinstar kiosk near you here, but they’re mostly located in CVS, Safeway, Walmart, and Fred Meyer.

So how does Coinstar work?

First, you drop your coins into the coin-counter machine. Wait for the machine to count each of your coins. Sometimes, it even rejects a coin if the machine cannot identify the currency.

Once the machine finishes counting the coins, you are given three choices:

  • Get paid with cash (but with an 11.9% fee deducted from the total)
  • Receive a gift card to certain stores (see the list below)
  • Donate to a charity of your choice.

If you select cash, you’ll receive a printed receipt from the machine, which you’ll take to the customer service counter. Here, you’ll be paid in cash. Coinstar pays the store eventually for this transaction.

  • PROS of Coinstar: Super accessible, no need to count coins manually, and always ready to exchange coins for cash.
  • CONS of Coinstar: Unfortunately, this convenience isn’t free. Coinstar charges an 11.9% service fee. So if your grandma left you a $5000 inheritance in several piggybanks, that fee is a whopping $595!

FYI, Coinstar fees vary by location, so it is best to ask if you found a machine near you.

How to Skip the Coinstar Fee

The only thing discouraging about Coinstar is the HUGE fee it takes from every coin exchange. Fortunately, you can get around this by NOT taking cash and opting for a gift card instead.

To exchange coins to cash via Coinstar for FREE, just choose to receive your money as a gift card like Starbucks ($5 to $500 cards), Dunkin Donut, or Amazon gift card instead (available in $5 to $1,000 gift cards).

Opting for a gift card would waive the 11.9% fee completely. Other gift cards available are Applebee’s, Best Buy, GameStop, Home Depot, iTunes, and Southwest Airlines, with gift card credits ranging from $5 to $500.

Donating to charities like the American Red Cross, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, UNICEF, World Wildlife Fund, Feeding America, United Way, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and The Humane Society of the United States also doesn’t incur any fees.

4. Publix Grocery if you live in Southeast US

If you’re near a Publix grocery (available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia), you’ll have another option for cashing in coins.

Publix has its own coin counting machines, which charge a 10% fee for any coin to cash conversion. The fee is slightly cheaper than Coinstar’s similar service.

If you’re lucky to have a Coinstar AND Publix near you, then at least you have options to choose from.

Use Coins as Cash at Self-Checkout Kiosks

If you have some grocery shopping to do, you don’t need to exchange your coins to cash anymore. Instead, use your coins to pay for purchases at self-checkout kiosks.

After all, coins are still legal tender. It is illegal for stores to shoo you for paying in coins.

However, paying straight to the cashier can be a hassle for others behind you, so I recommend you find stores with self-checkout kiosks. For example:

  • CVS – This Walgreens-owned pharmacy chain has over 9000 locations in the country, many of which have self-checkout kiosks that accept both cash and coins.
  • Home Depot – For the do-it-yourself home improvement crowd, Home Depot is located in 1,900+ stores in the US and offers self-checkout kiosks for those who wish to pay partially or fully using coins.
  • Kroger – With 2,700+ stores in 42 states, Kroger can also exchange your coins to cash that you can spend in any of their stores. The company also implemented a new policy for customers paying in cash (if the cash is more than the order value, the customer will no longer receive coins as change. Instead, the loose change will be applied to the customer’s next purchase.
  • Lowe’s – Lowe’s has about 2,000 stores spread in 50 states. Not all stores have self-checkout kiosks, but those that do accept both bills and coins.
  • Safeway – For your gas, grocery and pharmacy needs, Safeway has over 1,300 locations in the country (many of which have self-checkout kiosks).
  • ShopRite – While it only has 300 stores across 6 states (New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania), ShopRite still has self-checkout kiosks you can use to spend your coins as cash.
  • Target – Around 75% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Target store, so it is one of the most accessible ways to use your coins as cash. Target’s self-checkout kiosks accept coins, bills and cards as well.
  • Walmart – With at least 1 branch in all 50 states (and over 3500 branches), Walmart is the most accessible retail chain in the country. The company’s self-checkout kiosks accept debit/credit cards, cash and coins.

Click on the stores above to find the branch nearest you. 

Which Method of Exchanging Coins to Cash Have You Tried?

I’ve personally tried two of the methods above:

  • Exchanged coins at my local bank where I have a savings account. First try I deposited the amount to my account, while on the second try, I got cash instead.
  • Exchanged coins at Coinstar and opted for a Starbucks gift card instead of paying for the fee. That fee can be HUGE.

Both have worked well for me, at the time I needed to let go of plenty of coins. It would be great if Coinstar’s fee were a LOT cheaper since they’re the most accessible and most hassle-free.

Do you know of other ways to exchange coins to cash?

15 Things You Must Know for a Successful Zoom Interview

Got a zoom interview coming up?

After 2020 where almost every “office” meetings were conducted in Zoom or a similar online app, many people have been introduced to the new normal.

While many places are already opening back up to the way things were done in 2019, some locations are still stuck in lockdown. If you’re finding yourself now that your upcoming job interview will be a Zoom interview, and you’re a late bloomer to this must-know technology, here are 15 tips that could help you ace your zoom interview.

15 Do’s and Don’ts to Make Your Zoom Interview a Good Experience

I’m sure there are a lot more tips to ace your Zoom interview, but here are just 15 you should prioritize:

1. Get the Right Equipment & Set it Up

If you’re using your phone for the Zoom interview, buy a phone stand so you don’t need to balance your phone throughout the conversation. Once you have a phone stand, align your phone camera to your face so the interviewer can see from your head up to your chest. While you’re at it, find the position that compliments you the most.

If you’re using your laptop, check if the built-in webcam and microphone work. If not, buy an external webcam and mic that you can plug in.

If you’re going to use a computer for the zoom meeting and you don’t have a webcam or mic, get the right equipment to do the job, set it up before the interview date, and position to give you the best angle possible.

Headphones will work on your phone, laptop and desktop. Invest in a good one.

2. Be a Zoom Master

If this will be your first time using Zoom (or another online video-conferencing app), it is essential that you try it out first before your actual interview.

Thousands of people have had technical issues “operating” Zoom last year whether it’s during an interview (with the media or Hollywood peeps), (corporate office presentations or work meetings), and even just talking to your boss. It’s embarrassing before, and it is still embarrassing now.

For people trying to land a job with this Zoom interview, it can even be a turn-off to the interviewer, especially if the job you’re trying to win is technical in nature.

Be the master of your Zoom app: download now and practice using it. Being prepared always brings plus points to any interview, whether it’s real-world or virtual.

3. Handle the Noise

Any potential distraction that you can control, be proactive in controlling them. Here are some tips in handling the noise:

  • Pick a quiet spot. If you have a room where you can shut the door throughout the duration of your interview, pick this room. Make sure you are comfortable and you can focus on this space.
  • Get your pets outside for a while.  If you have a cat or dog that loves to get your attention, ask someone to take them out for a walk during your interview time.
  • Turn off phone and PC notifications. The “ding” of the Messenger app is very distinct, so is the notification sound of Discord, Viber, IG, and common apps used by the interviewer. Turn off notifications of your phone and PC apps (or better yet, mute the gadget completely) so no sound will distract you.
  • Silence your phone. If you can’t turn your gadgets off, at least silence them so any incoming calls or messages won’t make any noise during the interview.

If you’re unable to control the noise in your surroundings, learn how to mute/unmute masterfully so that you’ll have as little distraction going into the meeting as possible.

4. Lighting is Everything.

First of all, the room you choose to hold your Zoom interview should be well lit.

If you don’t have a well-lit room, create artificial lighting with a ring light (you can find these at camera shops) or a  lamp with a white bulb.

5. Change your Backdrop.

Find a spot with a clutter-free and solid-color wall and set up your phone or laptop here.

If you can’t find a professional-looking background,  set up a curtain or rearrange your furniture to find a suitable wall.

Zoom has backdrop-changing options to “prettify the background of your video.” Be sure to use those that are not overly “out there”, brightly colored, or moving GIFs. Stick to still images and something that doesn’t create distractions.

6. Screen Sharing Tip: Clear inappropriate wallpaper and shortcuts.

If your interviewer asks you to share your screen with them when using your computer, they will be able to see your wallpaper, opened folders, desktop shortcuts, and many more. Make sure these are all appropriate and cleared when you begin your zoom interview.

7. Practice Maintaining Eye Contact Weeks Before the Zoom Interview

Use Zoom to call your friends and family members weeks prior to your online job interview. Unlike face-to-face interviews wherein you could easily maintain eye contact with your interviewer, it can be challenging for online interviews because you’re technically not in front of each other.

If you look the interviewer in the eyes on your screen, it may not appear that way on their end. In fact, it may even look like you’re checking out yourself. Instead, you’d have to look into your camera for the interviewer to “see” on his/her end that you’re maintaining eye contact with him/her.

8. Prepare Backup Internet and Backup Power

If you’re using your laptop or phone, make sure it is fully charged and you have backup power in case of power interruption.

If you’re planning to use your computer, make sure the app is also on your phone should you be forced to use your phone during emergency brownout or other issues preventing you from sticking to your original plan.

9. Place all your Materials nearby.

Get a copy of your resume/CV, portfolio or other materials you’ll be using for your Zoom interview. Make sure to place them near you, so you wouldn’t have to keep the interviewer from waiting for you to get everything he/she asks for.

A glass of water or water bottle is also something you’d want nearby, so you can fix dry mouth, coughing or other similar problems quickly.

10. Learn what “Internet Handshake” You’re comfortable doing.

There would be an awkward moment before the interview that you’re not yet introducing yourself and the interviewer isn’t talking yet. This is what is referred to as the internet handshake. You can do any of the following you think fits you best:

  • Nod your head as “Hello!”
  • Smile directly at the interviewer
  • Acknowledge that this is your first time and that the Zoom interview feels so much different.

Quietly ignoring the “presence” of your interviewer can be awkward.

11.  Prepare as you would a real-world interview.

Just like the traditional job interviews, you have to prepare by:

  • Researching the company, its products and services.
  • Preparing some questions for the interviewer.
  • Asking about the position you’re hoping to land.

It’s OK to take down talking points on a notepad, but don’t read it during the interview. Just use it as a guide to push the flow of conversation naturally.

12. Your appearance matters too!

How did you prepare for job interviews in the past?

  • Dress to impress, but make sure you’re comfortable with your interview attire.
  • Brush your hair. Style it professionally.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Do your makeup, but stick to makeup appropriate for the job you’re aiming for.
  • Check your posture. If you have a problem with slouching, fix this temporarily by sitting on a small pillow.

BONUS: Zoom actually has a beauty filter “touch up on appearance” function. It isn’t as drastic as the beauty apps that totally change your appearance, but smoothening out blemishes on your cheek or forehead really help your overall look. Use it.

13. Don’t be late.

Tardiness is never okay, even if the interview is a virtual one.  Be ready 15 to 30 minutes before your interview time.

14.  Speak Clearly throughout the Zoom Interview

If you are a great communicator, you’ve got the best chance at acing your interview.

But because video interviews are different, you have to communicate as if the person you’re talking to is in the room. Use non-verbal communication (body language, eye contact, and other nonverbal cues) to relay your message or acknowledge your interviewer’s messages.

It isn’t worth answering with “uh-huh,” “yeah,” “I agree” and other quick responses because Zoom might freeze or the other person might mute his/her mic to give way to you speak. If you’re just agreeing and not planning to talk longer, interact in other effective ways that won’t disrupt the conversation.

15. Maintain Focus

It’s easy to get distracted at home, but try your hardest to maintain focus.

Here are some examples of showing the interviewer that your attention is 100% theirs:

  • Be mindful of your gestures. Playing with your hair, scratching, writing down notes, and other small movements make a big impact on how the interviewer sees you.
  • Look into the camera as if the interviewer is in front of you.
  • Nod in agreement if the interviewer is speaking.
  • Don’t check yourself out in Zoom camera. Look at the interviewer instead.

Ready to Ace Your Zoom Interview?

If you’ve been working from home even before 2020, you might have known how to conduct yourself during an online, Zoom interview.

But if you’re new to this virtual interviewing, make sure to follow the tips above. They can make or break your chances of landing the job you’re hoping to get.