Avoid the fees associated with Coinstar by choosing gift cards.
Yesterday, I headed over to the Coinstar machine at my local grocery store with my Coin Sherpa in hand, containing $5 in quarters provided by Coinstar.
Right now, Coinstar is running a promotion to draw attention to the fact that you can turn in your coins and redeem them for gift cards, free of charge. You can get your own coinbag, called the Coin Sherpa by Coinstar, when you take $5 in coins to a machine near you and redeem for a gift card.
Using Coinstar to Count Your Coins
I made the egregious mistake of relying on Coinstar to count up coins once. A few years ago my son worked hard to save up coins, and we took them to the Coinstar. It was a rather disappointing to surprise to find out that you pay a fee to have your coins counted. I knew there would be a fee, but I was thinking something modest, like 5%. Instead, Coinstar charges a 9.8% fee. Yikes.
But since then, Coinstar has added other options: Get a gift card, or donate to charity. If you choose to donate to charity, there is a reduced fee for counting the coins (you do get a charity receipt that you can use for a tax deduction). A gift card, though, comes with no fees at all. You end up with the total value of the coins counted.
While this option has been available for awhile, Coinstar is now launching a promotion to raise awareness of no-fee gift card redemption. And it involves you receiving a free coinbag.
How to Get the Free Coinbag
I think that the coinbag is a fun away to save up. There are different levels on the bag, letting you see what rewards you can get for yourself by saving up your coins. In order to get the free bag, you need to follow these steps:
- Take $5 in coins to a Coinstar machine
- Choose the gift card/ecertificate option (it won’t work if you choose cash or charity)
- When asked for a promo code, enter COINBAG
- Complete your transaction (you don’t have to enter your email address if you don’t want to)
- Take your receipt, go home, and enter the code on your receipt at the special redemption site. You will need to provide your address, so that Coinstar can send you your free bag.
The contest lasts until August 26, 2012, or until Coinstar runs out of bags. I found the process relatively easy, and I redeemed for an Amazon certificate. The money is already sitting in my account, waiting to be used.
You won’t receive $5 in free coins like I did for the purposes of trying this out, but you can get a free bag. It’s fairly easy, and if you get a certificate for your favorite retailer, it’s almost as good as getting cash.