On the Accuracy of CoinStar

According to an article that a reader pointed out in the comments to my earlier post on using CoinStar for free, CoinStar coin-counting machines aren’t necessarily accurate, but at least they’re not biased… Based on a survey of five different machines at five different locations, the machines were spot on three times, overcounted by a dime once, and undercounted by a nickel in the final test (out of $17.50 in actual change fed into the machine). All in all, I’d have to say that these results would be close enough for me… My main quibble with CoinStar is that I’m not interested in giving them close to 10% of what I feed into the machine (although, as I’ve noted before, you can get around the fees by opting for a gift card from a participating merchant).

13 Responses to “On the Accuracy of CoinStar”

  1. Anonymous

    My partner and I counted our toonies ($2.00) and loonies ($1.00) coins. We had 162 toonies and 151 loonies. We took them to the coinstar machine at a local TD Bank and dumped them in. When you use your TD bank card that identifies you as a customer to the machine and opt to direct deposit the money in your bank you are not charged a fee. The machine printed out a receipt counting 150 toonies and 150 loonies, shorting me $25. I immediately spoke to the bank manager who opened the machine to call coinstar, there is a phone inside where you can contact Coinstar, the phone was not working. The resorted to the internet to look up the number and called. Coinstar advised that they collected the money out of the machine twice a month and at next count (2 weeks away) if there was a difference in the tally vs the coins in the machine, they would notify the bank. Interesting, even if you count you money before putting it through the machine, you’re at the mercy of coinstar to verify your loss…or not. I’m still waiting to hear from them. I would suggest rolling your coins and take them to the bank, at least you’ll know for sure you got your money. Unfortuntely I have lost faith in the machines and Coinstar, they don’t have a viable process in place to deal with their machines occaisionally being inaccurate.

  2. Anonymous

    I took exactly $155 worth of change (all quarters) to Coinstar to be converted into bills. My husband and kids counted and got the exact amount as well. I dropped all the coins in and it took a while. I got back $140 and some pennies. Some pennies! Coinstar is a rip off and I will never use them again. Interestingly enough, I also took my change to First Bank and they took 15% of my $155 in quarters. I WILL NEVER EVER USE THE BANK OR COINSTAR. I will use my change myself even if it takes me a full year to go through them.

  3. Anonymous

    These machines are notoriously inaccurate, meaning they fail to accurately count more than half the time. However, that failure is typically just a coin or two from a drop of 100. Over time, that’s huge, but for the occasional use it’s slight. You’re already paying close to 10-percent in fees, what’s another dime or two?

    A friend had bought several thousand dollars worth of $1 coins from the US Mint using a credit card to get air miles (google it). He tried to use the coins to get no-fee gift cards and ended up losing a few bucks on each transaction. Needless to say, he now uses the bank.

  4. Anonymous

    oh and yes there is a contact us in the tabs above in the website!! So I am wondering how good your reading is also…You were a little harsh about them so I have to be harsh with you even though I dont know you, just like you dont know them!!!

  5. Anonymous

    have you ever thought that maybe you miscounted!! how good is your math?? I have been to 3 of them and they are very accurate!!!! I will let everyone know that they are very very accurate!!!!!!!!!! ba-bye

  6. Anonymous

    I counted out all of my change and was going to take it to the bank and my husband threw a fit, because they wanted us to roll the coins. So we went to a Coin Star machine. I know that I had an even $38.00 dollars and all that I was given was $33.80 and after they took their cut from that I received $30.79. That is a $4.20 difference, which makes their profit $7.21 and that is not 8.9 cents on the dollar! I guess most people don’t count or know what the amount they are putting in these machines and there for they do not know that they are getting screwed!!! Of course the address that they give is, http://www.coinstar.com and it doesn’t work so you can not complain. As for me I will let everyone that I know that these machines are a rip off!!!!!

  7. Anonymous

    I don’t if there are any near you, but some Chevy Chase bank branches have coin counting machines that you can use without charge. You take the receipt from the machine up to the counter, and they give you cash.

  8. Anonymous

    I usually use paper when I buy something. I pocket the change and will use paper on my next purchase, even if I have some change in my pocket. I empty my pockets each night into 4 plastic containers.

    When they get full, that’s my “mad” money. I once used frequent flier miles, loyalty hotel points and spare change to take my kids to California.

    I know that doing so is losing interest, dividends and whatever gain investing could get me. But, I’m much more likely to spend this “mad” money and enjoy myself (I also invest heavily on my 401, brokerage and 529)

    I used to roll my own and carry the rolls to my Citibank branch They didn’t and still don’t, have coin counters available for customers (one of the many minor reasons for me looking elsewhere – after 12 years).

    Chevy Chase has a free, no obligation, coin counter. I’ve yet to use it, but I’ll be heading there soon.

  9. Anonymous

    Personally, I want to buy songs from iTunes. If I were to use coinstar, I would be able to get the certificate right away and be able to cash it in iTunes immediately. Coinstar is a good idea for anyone who hates loose change. Coinstar is a bad idea for anyone who is a real penny pitcher. The Amazon card is the best deals in my oppinion. You do not get the 10% discount, and you can get almost anything from Amazon.com

  10. Anonymous

    Hey, honestly you dont have to get a gift card or pay the coinstar fee. Local banks let you use these machines for free, notably Commerce Bank, which has had locations popping up all around me in the northeast. You just use it for free, absolutely no strings attached. You don’t even need to be an account holder.

    Cas is a much better option than gift cards.

  11. Anonymous

    I generally don’t pay in cash so I have fewer coins than most. And if I do, I try to give the cashier exact change. Since I still have to hoard quarters for the laundry machines in my building and the parking meters when I go out, I don’t find Coinstar to be appealing.

    I just looked at their website. The only thing that would make sense for me to get from their gift cards is Starbucks. And I’m not sure I’ve got enough in change to buy one latte there! 😉

  12. Anonymous

    Good machines.
    I still handle it the old fashioned way: I try to spend my coins even if I have to pay $5 in quarters. Most clerks need coins anyway.

    And I roll up any remaining coins myself and bring them to the bank. I guess I just love counting money.

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