I have a whole bunch of moneys
May 14, 2012 7:41 AM   Subscribe

How long will it take me to feed a couple gallons worth of coins into a Coinstar machine?

I kind of feel like this is a wasted question but the closest I can find when I Google it refers to how long it takes a coin to get through your digestive system, so here goes...

I have about two gallons worth of loose change at home, what I estimate to be a couple hundred dollars. I would like to cash in. I don't want to roll it up myself and bring it to a bank. From my research my local bank(s) will not count it for me, at least not for free. Mostly I hate going into banks for any reason at all.

If I take it in to Coinstar machine am I going to be there for an hour? Is this a ten minute task? A two hour task? Is this a lot of money for a Coinstar machine or can it do this much with its eyes closed?

Any other tips for dealing with a Coinstar machine will be appreciated. Things like "A stray Canadian nickle will cause the machine to lock up" or "don't feed too much at once."

I am aware of the percentage Coinstar takes but I will take the Amazon gift card instead. I'm sure I can find a way to spend the money.
posted by bondcliff to Work & Money (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Probably about half an hour tops if the machine is in good working order; it's been a while since I've done it but I may be doing it again soon. In my experience they are a little slower than what I've found at banks.

The only issue is if it gets jammed up enough, you may not be able to get it all done at once.
posted by tilde at 7:44 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

They're super-fast. I'd say no more than five minutes.

Also, my bank (PNC in DC) has an automated coin-counting machine that's free; you just take your coins in, it prints out a receipt, and you bring it the receipt to the counter for cash or deposit. They don't advertise this widely, though. It might be worth making a few calls to your local banks if you haven't already.
posted by downing street memo at 7:45 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is super quick. Probably won't be more than 5 minutes of work for you. The machine will spit out any junk or unrecognizable coinage into a tray for you to retrieve.

Seriously, putting money in those machines is the most rewarding feeling you can have when you realize just how much money you had sitting in a jar on your dresser at home.
posted by Think_Long at 7:45 AM on May 14, 2012

20 minutes is my guess. I've never had any trouble with them, though I haven't tried it on Canadian nickles. It spits out a few perfectly good coins that I then have to feed in again.
posted by small_ruminant at 7:45 AM on May 14, 2012

And basically, you aren't going to want to just dump it all in there at once. Get it going, and scoop the coins in there in small batches. If they're in gallon containers, put them in the cart and use a heavier cup to scoop in the batches.
posted by tilde at 7:45 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Twenty or so minutes, and the machine nearest me seems to do a great job with kicking foreign coins, etc out of the way.

My main advice is to be patient. Don't overload the machine and instead feed it a cup or two at a time instead of just dumping all the money in. Wear rubber gloves if you don't want your hands to smell like you fingerbanged the Terminator.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:45 AM on May 14, 2012 [28 favorites]

For two gallons you'll be processing for about 20 minutes (600 coins/minute * ~12000 coins) if you pour the coins evenly (you can get somewhat ahead of the machine but don't lapse) and don't have too many unusual coins. You won't easily be able to jam the machine unless you have very large or sticky objects in your bucket.
posted by michaelh at 7:46 AM on May 14, 2012

15 minutes or so. I brought in 1200 worth of coins last year and it took about 15 minutes. However, in my country, we do have some 2 dollar coins.

Nothing "shuts down" the machine--it just spits out any foreign coin (and a few native ones). The screen will tell you if you're going to fast or slow.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:49 AM on May 14, 2012

Oh yeah, I'm in the US but I go to Canada at least once a year so there's bound to be a few Canadian coins in there.
posted by bondcliff at 7:53 AM on May 14, 2012

It will be quick--I'd say no more than 15 minutes. Generally I find that it works best if you dump in a slug of change and then rock the feeder platform up and down to keep everything moving. I've never had a machine jam; it will just spit out problematic coins (which you can try to run through the machine again--sometimes it just doesn't like a perfectly good quarter).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:01 AM on May 14, 2012

If you're in Boston, TD Bank usually has a coin counter machine too.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:02 AM on May 14, 2012

My guess is 15 minutes. They're amazing machines, very hard to screw up. The only problem I've ever had was when a sandwich of coins jammed the machine by being exactly the height of the intake slot. No big deal to free up, but it works better if you feed slow enough that it doesn't get overloaded.
posted by Nelson at 8:03 AM on May 14, 2012

It should take about 20 minutes to do this. I did this with at least a thousand pennies. The only frustrating part was when the Coin Star machine jammed up because I put too many coins in at once.
posted by livinglearning at 8:05 AM on May 14, 2012

I have a Vegas-style cup from when slot machines still took quarters (I'd guess it's 20-32oz. in size) that I fill up and take to coinstar at my grocery store, and it's fast, but it does take some time - probably 5 minutes or so for that much. I remove the quarters from my spare change for laundry money, and one full cup still ends up in the $50-60 range.

So, two gallons will probably take something like 20 minutes. As others have said, the machine recognizes foreign coins and spits them out a chute in the front. It also can fail to recognize some perfectly good coinage - after a while of running the machine there'll be some coins in the reject bin, and I usually put them back in the feeder for another shot at going through the machine. Most of them get sorted properly on their 2nd or 3rd try.

The machine will tell you if you're feeding it too fast. The coin feed mechanism for the machine does a pretty good job of keeping you from dumping in too many at once, but I've managed to overwhelm it before. Basically, there's a hinged tray that you fill with coins and lift up; then the coins slide over to the right and pass through a slot into the machine workings. The slot is fairly narrow, so if you put a whole bunch in at one time they'll back up there. Even with my smallish cup, I can't dump the whole thing into the feeder at once.
posted by LionIndex at 8:07 AM on May 14, 2012

It took me about 10 minutes to process 800 or so coins last year.

My Coinstar experience was negative though. I had slightly under $22 worth of coins (it had been counted and separated in preparation for rolling before I decided to try a Coinstar machine instead), but the machine only counted it as being about $15 (which I got as an Amazon gift certificate). Maybe it would have gone better had I fed the coins to the machine much slower.
posted by aiko at 8:08 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I did a giant water bottle of coins, once, and it took about 15min, between feeding it in slowly enough that it didn't choke and rescuing/re-feeding rejects.

Before you do Coinstar, though, you might check and see if any of the credit unions around you have a coin processor. They usually don't have a fee and will cash you out with actual cash instead of gift cert. options.

And seconding aiko: sometimes Coinstars don't count accurately. I had a smallish shoebox of mostly silver coins I'd counted a few times then decided not to roll, and it came out $5 less than expected, which is a pretty high margin of error for repeated human counting (especially as a former cashier), and a ridiculous margin of error for a machine.
posted by batmonkey at 8:30 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

How much does it weigh? I asked this question a while back. Seems like an estimate of $12 a pound is a pretty good rule or thumb. TD Bank around here will do it for free even if you are not a customer.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:39 AM on May 14, 2012

I nth the credit union thing for free coin counting, but CoinStar is great. Just feed it steadily, and you should be out of there in under 20 minutes.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:00 AM on May 14, 2012

FYI I felt a little self conscious when I did this because the coin star was godawful loud even in the grocery store. You might want to pick one that is tucked away.
posted by smackfu at 9:24 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

And, check out their website to see which machines offer which ecertificates. Only one in my county offers the Amazon eCert which led to a frustrating coin counting outing. It doesn't take long to count 15-20 tops.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 9:47 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

10-15 minutes, based on several times when approximatly 1/2 gallon of just quarters took me about 5 minutes. Canadian and other foreign coins won't jam up the machine: it'll just reject them --- there's a little catch-basin it'll spit them into. If it's like my bank, the machine will give you a receipt that you'll then turn in for your actual cash.

If you can find a free one, that's best, but look around before you choose what machine to use --- the Coinstar in my bank charges 3%, the ones at local grocery stores charge 8%. If you're only doing a jar of pennies, that might not matter much, but with mixed coins it'll surprise you how much it adds up to.

(and you really don't want to know how I ended up with well over three gallons of quarters....)
posted by easily confused at 10:12 AM on May 14, 2012

Unfortunately, TD Bank changed their coin counting policy. If you have an account, it's free. If not, there is an 8% "service charge."
But the advantage at the bank is that if you fill up one of the sacks in the machine, someone will come out, empty it, and reset it.
posted by Marky at 10:26 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I did something close to this a few years ago. I used to keep a small pail in my bedroom and toss the loose change in it every night.

We used Coinstar. It took twenty minutes to half an hour to run an 5-6L load of mixed change. The sorting step is what takes the machine time. This doesn't include the travel time between locations because we broke the first machine we tried.

Don't overfill the coin hopper. It was relatively easy to jamb, in my experience. Gloves are a great idea. Money is dirty.
posted by bonehead at 10:34 AM on May 14, 2012

Call your bank, ask if they accept mixed coins in CoinLok bags. Way easier than Coinstar, and you aren't forced to pay a fee or spend it before you have it (gift card).

Take out all Eisenhower dollars (and other large-sized dollar coins) before you go to Coinstar. They won't count them and they won't reject them back to you. You just lose them. Same with 1943 steel cents.

Check the reject tray when you're done, Coinstar doesn't accept silver coins, so if you have any that's where they end up.
posted by clorox at 1:32 PM on May 14, 2012

Take out all Eisenhower dollars (and other large-sized dollar coins) before you go to Coinstar. They won't count them and they won't reject them back to you. You just lose them. Same with 1943 steel cents.

That's odd, because they do reject 1946 silver quarters. (Their loss...)
posted by atbash at 2:04 PM on May 14, 2012

I dumped a gallon of change into a Coinstar two years ago. Felt like it took about 5 very noisy minutes. Seconding the gloves recommendation. That'd make it easier to keep the hopper from getting jammed.
posted by dws at 2:17 PM on May 14, 2012

if the machine can't connect to the internet to give you a gift certificate, it will give you a receipt for cash without the cash %age cash fee. Connection problems usually occur due to a loose or disconnected (phone) wire.
posted by defcom1 at 2:45 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I took two half-gallon mason jars, neither all the way full (heavy!!), last week.

1. It was $200 -- we had guessed $45-60 so that was awesome.
2. It took me probably 10-20 minutes. It was very loud, however, so it's possible that I could have gone faster if I hadn't been too scared to make All The Noise.
posted by librarina at 9:26 PM on May 14, 2012

Thanks, folks. I asked this question just so I knew how much time to allocate for the task.

56 lbs. 4 dollar coins, 1538 quarters, 1418 dines, 898 nickel, 3166 pennies.


About 17 minutes start to finish.

Next question: Does Amazon.com sell cocaine and hookers?
posted by bondcliff at 5:50 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why yes. Yes they do.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:37 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

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