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Maybe I'm just desperately out of touch, but last week was the first time I noticed that my bank now has this machine where you can dump in a huge quantity of change, get it automatically counted, sorted, and bagged, and then the bank will give you cash (or deposit the right amount in your account). No more dealing with annoying rolls! Well, went by this morning with my bag 'o change and walked out with over $100. Awesome. The problem, I suppose, is that I have absolutely no idea how much money was actually in that bag.

April 25, 2005 | Permalink


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Which bank, Matt?

Posted by: theophylact | Apr 25, 2005 9:56:04 AM

Where have you been? They have these in grocery stores, too.

Posted by: Dave | Apr 25, 2005 9:56:55 AM

There was no money in the bag. Bags of change that are not used, but simply accumulate do nothing for you or the economy. (well, I suppose they provide additional employment for mint workers, but that's the 'broken window' fallacy, isn't it).

By counting the coins, and putting them back into circulation, you, Matt, personally, created some money. Congratulations!

Posted by: John Casey | Apr 25, 2005 9:57:50 AM

We've had those in the Midwest for years, except they're in grocery stores and you pay a percentage for the counting.

Did you?

Posted by: Dan | Apr 25, 2005 10:04:56 AM

The one at our grocery store takes 7% (!) off the top, but I use it anyway because there is no way I would ever count and roll up those coins. My son helped me sccop up loose change from the couches, etc a few weeks ago and paid for half of an XBox that way.


Posted by: Cranky Observer | Apr 25, 2005 10:05:15 AM

We separate out the quarters (for parking meters) and dump the rest in the Coinstar machine. There was a point where if you donated your coin money to a particular charity, the store matched at least some of it. Haven't seen it lately, though.

Posted by: Marysquito | Apr 25, 2005 10:28:29 AM

Our bank has had one of those machines for a couple of years. I'm starting to see them in a lot of places - groceries, convenience stores, saw one in a Target when we travelling through Virginia last year.

Why doesn't government get into this, and take a surcharge as well? Why give the profit for converting money from metal to paper to private industry alone? Hell, it would be a great thing to install at a local township/borough/city office...

Posted by: PSoTD | Apr 25, 2005 10:28:52 AM

My bank has that too, and it was a significant factor in me choosing them over other banks. For bank customers there is no charge for the machine. It gives you a slip, that you take up to the counter to deposit or exchange for cash. It's great.

Anyplace else you see one of those (Coinstar or otherwise) they are taking a cut.

Plug: My bank is TCF, a MI, OH, WI regional bank, I think. Free checking still, too. Best bank I've had that's not a credit union.

Posted by: Mr Furious | Apr 25, 2005 10:56:38 AM

I believe I've seen some of the coinstar machines in grocery stores that will not take a cut, provided you convert the money into a credit to be used at the grocery store. Not bad, if you need to buy groceries anyway. Not sure if this is a typical service or not.

Posted by: drjimcooper | Apr 25, 2005 10:59:04 AM

The key word there is "automatically." Banks are willing to provide extra services if they don't have to staff them. As soon as they made the numbers work for a coin sorter that didn't require any human intervention, they were all over it as an added value.

Now, the feature I want is "give me back my quarters and deposit everything else." Someone must have written a paper at some point about how apartment renters and laundromat users value quarters at well over 25 cents apiece.

Posted by: diddy | Apr 25, 2005 11:06:28 AM

If you are already at the bank, why not just ask for a roll of quarters instead of bills?

Posted by: Al | Apr 25, 2005 11:13:32 AM

diddy --

Tell me about it. Fortunately, my local bank doesn't charge anything for rolls of quarters and it's two blocks away. That's the only thing that's stopped me from switching to one of the majors (the convenience, that is. I don't think anybody besides currency exchanges charges for quarters).

Posted by: dbt | Apr 25, 2005 11:14:24 AM

Depends on the bank. Some banks require you to roll your change (which of course they rip apart to count in theri machines anyway) otehrs will take it, count it, and deposit the amount for you . As you can see this is done to discourage people from depositing change rather than for any labor savings reason.

Posted by: Rob | Apr 25, 2005 11:28:24 AM

Furious, TCF originally stood for Twin City Federal, an S and L headquartered in Minneapolis. It's financial performance has been consistently terrific, largely due to pleasing customers such as yourself on a regualar basis. Of course, one of the Powerline bloggers is a corporate attorney at TCF, a fact I suspect will hurt TCF's reputation in the eyes of many in this forum.

Posted by: Will Allen | Apr 25, 2005 11:54:40 AM

Whoa... I used a Coinstar at my grocery store for the first time just this weekend. The gizmo shaved off 9% on my $15 worth of change.

What I really want to see is can & bottle redemption machines, like I saw in Europe. Stick worthless trash in a slot, and get a voucher for cold, hard cash.

Posted by: Grumpy | Apr 25, 2005 11:58:44 AM

"Stick worthless trash in a slot, and get a voucher for cold, hard cash."

You could make a mint off that machine.

Posted by: David Sucher | Apr 25, 2005 12:01:30 PM

TCF's CEO used to run the GOP here in Minnesota and it does also give only to Republicans. That's why I'm sticking with Wellsfargo (its superior ATM network is a plus) and encouraging my friends to leave TCF

Posted by: Drew | Apr 25, 2005 12:04:37 PM

I would love a German style bottle deposit system in this country. It'll never happen because retailers don't want to have a stiff $0.25 deposit put on their bottles of water.

Posted by: Drew | Apr 25, 2005 12:06:44 PM

Like I said, Mr. Furious.....Luckily, for TCF's stockholders, the number of people who make their consumer decisions based upon the political orientation of a company's CEO is exceedingly small.

Posted by: Will Allen | Apr 25, 2005 12:12:07 PM

Like I said, Mr. Furious.....Luckily, for TCF's stockholders, the number of people who make their consumer decisions based upon the political orientation of a company's CEO is exceedingly small.

Posted by: Will Allen | Apr 25, 2005 12:12:48 PM

What I really want to see is can & bottle redemption machines, like I saw in Europe. Stick worthless trash in a slot, and get a voucher for cold, hard cash.

The Star Market in Cambridge, Mass., has those machines too. Definitely one for aluminum, perhaps one for glass as well.

Posted by: Chris | Apr 25, 2005 12:13:57 PM

Is this some sort of allegory about "black-box voting"?

Posted by: bobo brooks | Apr 25, 2005 12:16:38 PM

They have can & bottle machines all over here in California. They're nice, but still need a staff person around to periodically empty the bins, so you're limited to business hours. And as the main can'n'bottle exchangers are homeless people there's no incentive to make such hours at all useful for the day shift bejobbed...

Posted by: yami | Apr 25, 2005 12:16:56 PM

In Japan, it's possible to deposit coins directly into automatic teller machines. Very cool--except for one entertaining time I got stuck with an old machine that didn't work very well and broke down entirely. While I did get to enjoy tea and cookies while their technicians rescued my card, the downside came when, to my astonishment, returned my entire deposit on a little tray, as opposed to, say, crediting my account...

I also like Japan's bus coin boxes that take bills and give change. Quite nifty, very puzzling why we don't have them around here.

Posted by: Wrye | Apr 25, 2005 12:17:27 PM

The chain grocery stores in Rochester, NY, all had Crush-o-Mats for smashing plastic bottles and aluminum cans (wheee!), then providing a voucher. Unfortunately, no Rochester banks at the time allowed use of their coin-counting machines unless you were a business customer. Because if you weren't a business, they weren't making enough money off of you to fund walking across to a machine and dumping your coins in it.

Oh, hold on, MY, I just realized: Ye cannot sort both God and Mammon!

Posted by: mds | Apr 25, 2005 12:22:25 PM

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