April 20, 2024

Bucks: Banks Where You Can Count Your Change

Using the change counting machine at TD BankCourtesy TD BankUsing the change-counting machine at TD Bank.

Change-counting machines seemed to be going by the wayside, leaving consumers with nowhere to put all those coins they pull out from under their couch cushions. (Yes, we increasingly use debit cards and even our phones to pay for things. But those nickels and dimes still seem to pile up.) Some banks, though, continue to see the kiosks as a way to please their customers and — because we are talking about banks, after all — maybe earn some fees.

TD Bank, for instance, has self-service coin-counting machines in more than 900 of its 1,300 branches and is installing 75 new ones later this month at locations in North Carolina and South Carolina. The bank gained the branches when it bought the South Financial Group last year and is adding its “Penny Arcade” machines as part of the rebranding process. TD Bank’s branch network stretches from the Northeast through Washington, D.C., as well as in Florida.

The machines are free to TD Bank account holders, and those who are not account holders pay a 6 percent fee. Penny, as the machine is called, can count 3,500 coins a minute. After the customer dumps loose change into the machine, it spits out a receipt which the customer takes to a teller and exchanges for cash or uses to make a deposit.

Penny is especially popular with children, adding a rare element of fun to a bank visit. After dumping the coins in for counting, the machine lets them guess how much they think the coins add up to. If they come within $1.99, they get a TD-branded prize, like an ice scraper. “We never considered phasing them out,” Rebecca Acevedo, a bank spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

TD Bank isn’t alone. U.S. Bank has machines, or coin-counting services, at the “vast majority” of its roughly 3,000 branches, a spokesman said. And Wells Fargo has change machines in “many” of its branches, a spokeswoman said, primarily in the Midwest.

Bank of America doesn’t have change machines, but it will accept customers’ change for counting. There’s currently no fee for customers, a bank spokeswoman said. A Chase spokesman didn’t respond to a request for information by post time.

Those whose banks don’t offer to count spare change can perhaps find a local supermarket and use its Coinstar machine. You will pay a hefty 9.8 percent commission for the convenience, if you insist on cash. But if you agree to get their money on a gift card — like one from Starbucks, Amazon or J.C. Penney — the service is free.

Coinstar’s spokeswoman, Marci Maule, said that in addition to retail outlets, the company provides change machines to some banks and small credit unions, which see the machines as a way to “build loyalty among their customer base and drive more traffic into the branch” — where, hopefully, they can promote other products and services.

All told, Coinstar has nearly 19,000 self-service machines in the United States, Britain, Canada and Ireland. Some 440 are in banks, including United Community Bank of Georgia. The Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union also has the machines. The bank machines are typically branded with the bank’s name, rather than with Coinstar’s shocking green logo.

What do you do with your spare change? Do you take it to a coin machine?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=c45039234e057fc599f015c35a92c7f6

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