Coinstar has announced a new way that you can turn your loose change in and avoid paying the 7% surcharge that’s common when using their machines in supermarkets, drug stores and elsewhere.
The leading coin counting machine operator has teamed up with a variety of retailers to give gift cards (or e-vouchers) in exchange for your loose change. It is the participating retailers who eat the 7% fee so you get roughly a dollar-for-dollar equivalent when you redeem your change. There are a variety of online and traditional retailers involved in this program, in everything from apparel to restaurants.
So this takes away one hiccup on the road to cashing in your loose change. Now you can redeem with confidence. Just remember my normal reservations about gift cards: Be sure to spend the gift card money right away; you never know if or when the issuing merchant will go bust and leave you high and dry.
Finally, there’s one other time when I recommend gift cards. That’s when you get more in value than what you pay. So for example, you might buy a $100 gift card at a restaurant and get $120 in food and drink. That’s a real deal.