How to deposit coins: TD Bank’s Penny Arcade vs. Coinstar vs. Chase vs. Bank of America

Executive Summary: TD Bank lets customers deposit coins for free using their Penny Arcade machine, and charges 6% to non-customers. Chase accepts coin deposits from customers without a fee, and will take them in any container. Coinstar machines charge a 9.8% fee to turn your coins into bills, but no fee if you turn them into gift cards including those good at Amazon or the grocery store you’re in.

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One of the parts of my fulfilling my July goal of doing a debt sprint is cleaning out the piggy banks. This will mostly involve cleaning house of all cash-like items including gift cards and the adorable teal and purple notes that I picked up last year when I briefly visited that one country where they filmed Canadian Bacon.

However, I wanted to get started in the more literal sense first, and so with my work piggy bank — I also keep a couple at home — in hand, set off during my lunch break when the thought finally hit me: my primary bank is USAA and they only have a branch in San Antonio and I live in New York — a distance of 1,800 miles.

Anyhow, I started calling around and asking what my options were for depositing coins. I also started looking on the internet.

USAA

That’s correct, we only have a coin-counting machine in San Antonio.

[long pause]

I can add a request to add this capability if you like…

I told him I’d figure something out.

Bank of America

Yes sir, we have canvas bags and wrappers available

[Why is she telling me this?]

Deposits are free if you wrap them, or we charge a $10 fee if you drop them off in canvas bags, with a minimum deposit of $50.

[Ah.]

TD Bank

TD Bank famously let anyone use their Penny Arcade coin counting machines for free until 2011 when they started charging 6% for the service for non-customers. The customer service rep confirmed as much on the phone.

If you’re already a TD Bank customer and want to use this feature — or you’re a non-customer who doesn’t mind the fee — you can find a location with a Penny Arcade at this link and clicking the check box that says, “Penny Arcade” before searching. Once there, you drop your coins into the Penny Arcade, which will generate a receipt, which you then take to a teller who will either let you deposit the amount into your account or give you cash.

Coinstar

While not a bank, I see these in the local grocery stores all the time. Their website let me know that they charge a 9.8% fee, but they wouldn’t deduct a fee if I turned it into a gift card. An imperfect solution, but not terrible and one I might consider in a pinch, particularly because Amazon is an option, and credit there is almost as good as cash to me.

Chase

I already have an account with Chase, so this would make it easy, as long as they didn’t charge a fee or make me wrap like Bank of America.

Yes, we’d be happy to take your coins without a fee

Right, but would I need to do anything with them?

Nope. Just bring them in whatever you have — a box, bag, a…

Oh I have mine in…

…or even in piggy banks.

Huzzah!

Anyway, that’s a long way to say that I’m going to be doing my local banking with Chase now. How do you turn your coins into deposits? Or do you keep them around the house hoping the metal appreciates to more than the face value?

Comments

  1. Leslie Beslie says

    I recently dumped $13 worth of coins at TD Bank, despite their fee. Since I only use USAA it’s the best alternative.

    • Leslie Beslie says

      Well, I’m very happy with my current bank. Doesn’t seem worth it to switch to me for a service I use once a year.

      • says

        That makes a lot of sense. Would you be able to open an account at a second bank? I think if there aren’t fees or minimums (minima?), I wouldn’t mind

  2. alwayshungry4 says

    I put mine in a purse-shaped jar and once it fills up, I use Coin Star to buy running shoes/gear. My uncle recently turned his in that he’s been collecting since the 80′s and there was over $2k in it!

  3. Stefanie says

    I keep the coins in a jar and then wrap them when my collection gets overwhelming (though I charge almost everything now so it takes a while). Wrapping the coins really isn’t as painstaking as it sounds. I do it while watching “The Colbert Report” :)

    • says

      This makes sense. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m the only one who’s inexplicably annoyed at having to pay a pretty tiny fee to deposit legal tender…

  4. Katie Collins says

    Ha ha, I so rarely have cash that I don’t have enough coins to worry about! Most recently, I gave them away to a man in a parking lot asking me for a quarter because he had just drank some hot sauce. (I have no idea why drinking hot sauce leads to needing a quarter, but I wasn’t using the change anyway.)

    Usually, I end up using change on my grocery store purchases. I just insert the change and then select credit card to pay the remaining balance. It’s interesting that there are that many people who use cash enough to have that many coins. The only time I have cash is if someone gifts me with it. And I keep the few coins I ever have in the zippered coin section of my wallet.

    • says

      That’s super-interesting. I feel naked if I don’t have a little bit of cash for emergencies while walking around New York. Foodwise, I can do groceries and most restaurants, but bodegas, street vendors, bagelries, and splits, all require cash… and create change. My bigger problem might be that I hate carrying change with me, so never have it when I have the opportunity to get rid of it.

  5. says

    seriously, one place to deposit coins? that’s crazy, how do businesses do, like laudromats? When I have lots of coins I make it a priority to pay in coins (painful for the person behind you in the shop) and the shopkeeper is happy not to have to go to the bank for spare change.

    • says

      That’s a good question. Perhaps businesses have deals special deals where they aren’t charged fees. Or perhaps they have the volume that $10 doesn’t mean much to them. I wonder who I’d have to talk to for these deals…

  6. taracorinne says

    I like the Amazon plan. I always need to buy things at Amazon anyways so I would just save up the gift cards for purchases. It’s great for when you need to buy a gift!

    • says

      Seriously. Because I share a Prime account and get a subscribe and save discount for my bulk grocery items, Amazon is pretty the only gift card that’s almost as good as cash.

  7. says

    Honestly, I barely ever have coins. Quarters get used either for parking or for laundry. Small coins are kept in my car in the hopes that I can use them for parking, but otherwise they’re pretty useless. I almost never use cash so really almost never accumulate coins. Good to know there are still at least a couple of ways to exchange them for free though.

    • says

      That’s the same with me. I mostly buy things with a rewards card that I pay off every 10 days and quarters go to laundry. The biggest reason they pile up is that I just hate carrying them around, so dump whatever I have the second I get back to the office or back to the house.

  8. lauren says

    Whoa – who knew re: Chase bank? That’s awesome.

    I took a big ol jar to Albertson’s to run through their Ameristar machines recently and balked at their 9% fee, so turned it into the grocery card gift card instead ($150!!). Only thing is that it’s now just another gift card to misplace/forget.

    Lots of times I just lose/throw away change, it’s that annoying. Plastic ftw.

  9. Steve says

    This article contains incorrect information. I am a Chase customer and called multiple Chase Bank locations about this. All Chase locations require the coins to be wrapped to be accepted as a deposit. They do provide wrappers for customers though.

    • says

      That was the experience that I had — was asked to sit and wrap my coins (though they did help). However, I called Chase’s national customer service before going to a branch and they assured me that this was the case. I contacted them after my experience and they seemed surprised and said they’d take steps to address it. If anything, it’s a national policy that’s being ignored at individual branches…

    • Frank says

      When I visited my local Chase branch and was told the same thing about wrapping the coins. However I checked with another Chase branch about 4 miles away and they will take your coins and send them downtown (Houston) where they will be counted and credited to your account for free. Upside: it’s free; Downside; you aren’t there when they’re being counted. b.t.w. There is a 500 pound limit. :-)

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