Coinstar Calls Cashing In Change 'Recycling'

Douglas writes, “Coinstar wants you to ‘recycle’ your coins in their machines, and save the environment! Minus their 8.9% fee of course.” They even have a little wizard on their website that estimates how many parts of the environment—water, energy consumption, and geological waste—you save by putting those coins back into circulation, instead of hoarding them like the polar bear murderer you are. They don’t provide any source for these estimates, though, and we’re not convinced you’re doing anything “green” other than lining Coinstar’s pockets.

From Coinstar’s website:

Think of it as a new form of recycling—when you reuse your change instead of letting it sit idle in your coin jar, fewer coins are produced. And that translates into environmental savings by reducing hte need for limited natural resources used to create new coin.

We’re deeply skeptical of any one-to-one benefit statement like this, not least because it ignores the total cost of running the Coinstar company, which is a key component of any coin recycling “movement.”

If you’re going to cash in your spare change, look for a Commerce Bank branch nearby first. Their change machines are free and you don’t have to be a Commerce customer to use them.


Edit Your Comment

  1. So, I guess this ISN’T “change” we can believe in?

  2. dragonfire81 says:

    Going Green is the big new PR thing, it’s no surprise to me that companies are jumping on the bandwagon so quickly.

    You see it’s about making people THINK you are doing something to help the environment when there is actually little to no real effect from whatever is being promoted.

    It’s just more spin.

  3. What’s new term for this, GreenWashing? I saw an episode of Penn & Teller B*ll$hit, and they did a special on the green movement. There are people who actually provide therapy to people who are so troubled by the negative impact their existence has on the planet, they need a therapist. This is what makes the “Green” movement so hard to accept for me.

  4. The one good thing BOA did for me (before I moved all of my accounts to USAA), was allow me to dump all of my change into a plastic bank change bag. I’d drop it off with my account info and the amount was posted to my account 2-3 business days later, no cut off the top or anything. I would assume most CUs and other banks do this as well if people would just ask. You don’t even need to roll the coins yourself.

  5. So 16oz of coins (1 pound) creates 250lbs of “geological waste”? The only way I could picture that is if you’re trying to mine 1 pound of pure copper you might throw away 250lbs of plain old rocks.


  6. nursetim says:

    I agree. Slapping the word “Green” on anything these days seems to be more for PR effect. On a related note, I am seeing the pink ribbon for breast cancer research on more and more products. My wife bought a bottle of contact solution with the pink ribbon on it, and my first thought was “Are you kidding me?”.

  7. Just an FYI for the commerce machines, count your money before hand. I ran mine through, and the machine was off by a little over a dollar. They credited me the amount the machine was off though, so they are good people.

  8. @Matthew Hughes: remember that pennies are only like 5%copper, and the rest is zinc.

  9. @nursetim: Rush Limbaugh used to rail against stars who would wear a red ribbon, and think they were doing something about AIDS.

  10. overbysara says:

    what. stupid.

    PNC has FREE coin machines. I live in DC, and the dupont circle branch has a machine. Just walk in and dump your change. It prints a ticket which you take to the teller for the FULL VALUE of your coins. The end.

  11. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Like many things in this world, I consider using the Coinstar machines (well, specifically paying the fee they charge) to be akin to a stupid tax. Like many above have said, take them to your bank, or if they don’t have a machine, find a bank that will do it for free.

  12. Canino says:

    when you reuse your change instead of letting it sit idle in your coin jar, fewer coins are produced

    So they’re trying to make people believe the govt produces coins based on supply and demand, and they’re saying if you put your supply back into circulation the govt will somehow know to cut production by 264 coins next year because you did that.

    Good grief.

  13. timmaah says:

    They don’t take anything off the top if take a gift card instead of cash.

    Whenever I am going to get something from Amazon, I just throw all my change in the coinstar first and get an Amazon gift card out. No extra charge.

  14. Hate_Brian_Club_I'mNotOnlyThePresidentI'mAClient says:

    Coinstar’s ridiculous marketing aside, how can anyone in their right mind pay to have their change counted and converted into paper money? If my bank refused to do this I’d close my account.

  15. nicemarmot617 says:

    Yeah, I think I’ll continue counting out my change myself and not letting some scammer steal part of my cash. Which is all Coinstar is as far as I’m concerned – a scam to take advantage of the dumb and lazy. Whether or not the dumb and lazy deserve to be taken advantage of is of course a matter of opinion.

  16. JulesNoctambule says:

    Ah, but the catch is that I’d have to *drive* to get to a Coinstar machine! I think I’ll stick to ‘reusing’ my change by buying things with it.

  17. NotATool says:

    Hell, even Chase does this for their customers, for free.

  18. hellinmyeyes says:

    I’ve not seen any free machines to do this before, but I hand-count all mine and roll them myself. It really doesn’t take that long. It’s actually kind of therapeutic after a stressful day, at least until you get to the end and realize you only have 35 quarters for that final roll.

    I agree about the greenwashing marketing madness. I always have wondered, however, just how much change ends up never to be found again for decades or centuries, just how much is gone and potentially still spendable nonetheless.

  19. Triborough says:

    This is definitely greenwashing.

    Coinstar’s business model seems to be to prey on those who don’t know any better, since they take their cut.

    I’ll stick to Commerce Bank where they count the coins for free, even if you don’t have an account. I do so I can just stick the money into it with no muss or fuss.

  20. JustThatGuy3 says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:

    I consider CoinStar a convenience fee (although, as timmaah notes, I often get an Amazon gift cert). No Commerce Bank near me, but there is a convenient CoinStar, and I’d rather have 91% of something than 100% of nothing.

  21. post_break says:

    I use coinstar to make itunes gift cards so I purchase iphone applications. A subtle way to keep those little apps off of my credit card bill.

  22. ironchef says:

    Union Bank of CA does free coin counting at some branches.

  23. Nick1693 says:

    @Git Em SteveDave displays attention-grabbing vanity: 2.5% to be exact, the rest is Zinc, according to the Snopes “Penny on a bee sting” story.

  24. savvy999 says:

    I wrap up my own quarters and dimes ($10 and $5 per roll), they go to the bank and right into savings, but pennies and nickels? Not worth the time, so Coinstar is good enough for me.

    Like someone else said, cut Coinstar’s juice and get it in an Amazon gift card. Buy yourself something nice, a book or something, a little treat for your pennywisdom.

  25. mike says:

    If anyone is interested, I’m selling carbon credits out of the trunk of my hybrid. It’s buy one get three free! No mail-in rebate.

    I’m not convinced of the green movement. I think it’s propigated by oil execs and anti-globalization people and not out of concern for the environment.

    By-the-by, Chevy Chase offers free coin counting. Don’t need to be a member.

  26. says:

    @Matthew Hughes: yeah, doesn’t more paper bills mean less trees?

  27. mike says:

    @savvy999: Coinstar still gets a cut of the coins, even if you buy an gift card. I would think even more so than most people think.

  28. JN2 says:

    Did Coinstar calculate the resources it took to create this new campaign? The additional hours and energy its marketing agency spent toiling away at night with the lights on and AC running? The precious resources and trees it consumed to print junk mail? The donut trees that were over-harvested to feed the CEO in the morning?

    Think of the baby seals, then take your coins to your local Bank of America.

  29. snazzycarrot says:

    Well the greenwashing aspect seems silly to me too. But I have used coinstar in the past (although I do usually get rid of my coins by spending them too), with full awareness of the fee. Stupid? No. Lazy? I’ll get back to you on that…

  30. JN2 says:

    Did Coinstar figure in the additional resources it took to come up with this lame idea? The late-night, oil burning sessions at its ad agency? The paper to print the junk mail on? The powdered baby seal intestine to fill the toner cartridges of its headquarters? The over-harvested donut trees that were killed to fill the CEO’s belly?

    Meet the new green, same as the old green.

  31. JN2 says:


  32. nequam says:

    @Git Em SteveDave displays attention-grabbing vanity: Sort of like those American flag pins.

  33. @Nick1693: I’m a dedicated elongated penny fan, and I don’t use “Zincies”, only pure copper pennies from my birth year(1978) or 1969(cuz 69 is cool). Sorry my fraction was off.

    @nequam: I think those are a little different. But yes, some people wear them just to wear them.

  34. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Oh, but think of all the trees that die to make those little coin wrappers!

  35. RandomHookup says:

    My favorite people are the ones who pump them full of quarters and dimes. Pennies I can understand, but they should just put it right next to the lottery scratch ticket machine for the folks who pump in $75 in quarters and leave 3 bucks worth in the return slot.

    If they were really into recycling, they would handle Canadian coins. Those, for us non-Canadians anyway, seriously go to waste.

  36. BrianDaBrain says:

    I cash in my change at my credit union, which runs it free of charge to customers and non-customers alike.

    I love silly campaigns like this. They make me smile inside, because they are so stupid. You expect these to show up in satires, not it real life. I’m going to throw this idea out there now: the numbers they generate are based off some random table their marketing department threw together and have little (if anything) to do with reality.

    I was excited, however, to see that Coinstar actually spelled “the” correctly on their website.

    Does it really make a difference how many coins are sitting in jars in peoples’ homes as opposed to how many are sitting in cash register drawers or in Coinstar’s pockets? Somehow, I don’t see the Treasury Department looking at this particular stat prior to deciding how many coins to mint. That could just be me though.

  37. bnet41 says:

    Just a note on this greenwashing stuff. I had a friend who worked for a consumer products type company, and they wanted to do this green thing with a paper based product they made.

    Well, all they wanted to do was label it green. They didn’t want to make the formulation green as that wouldn’t meet their famous formula for the product, and they also didn’t want to give any money to green causes as that would cut into their profits.

    I’m not sure whatever came of that, but my friend was in the marketing department.

  38. Islandkiwi says:

    I recently used a Coinstar machine, there is no fee if you choose to accept payment as a gift card…so I did. My bank wanted me to roll my own coins and put my account number on each roll…it was just easier to get a gift card.

  39. mythago says:

    @timmaah: same here – it’s an incentive to dig all those pennies out of the couch cushions. I wouldn’t pay for the service, but it is free if you convert the money into a certificate for somewhere you were going to shop anyway.

  40. bnet41 says:

    Coinstar is nice because in a lot of areas there is no bank that has the machines.

    In NYC it seemed like a lot of banks added those because of Commerce.

    Now where I am at now I have not seen any banks with them, and like a poster said above, the banks around here will not deal with your change unless you wrap it and label it.

    So, around here Coinstar is pretty much your best choice when you have a ton of change.

  41. QuiteSpunky says:

    Coinstar has a point: one of the reasons the government has to keep producing new pennies is that they fall out of circulation almost as fast as they are produced because everyone saves them in jars. The real solution to this is not to take them to Coinstar: it’s to remove the penny from circulation entirely. Unfortunately, the few times this has been proposed the “penny lobby” has effectively gotten it thrown out. Who is this powerful penny lobby, you ask? Well, one of the most prominent members is, you guessed it; Coinstar! Think about it– if they penny were removed from circulation in favor of currency people actually used, a lot less change would be going in these machines. Meanwhile, the taxpayer is saddled with the continual cost of producing coins that no one wants.

  42. ludwigk says:

    @RandomHookup: Long ago, when I lived in Northern Ohio, then Maine, I used to have to deal with Canadian currency all the time. I would get it for change, or receive it from customers at my business.

    People thought I was crazy for demanding US Currency, as if getting paid in my native currency were some sort of extravagance. For instance, the checkout cashier at the grocery store would say “oh, people will take that,” as if that made it Ok that she was giving me something other than legal tender for change.

    Related to that nearly daily frustration, I dreamed up this vending machine where you could insert all of your Canadian coins, then something useful, such as paperclips or rubberbands, would be dispensed. It had to be something so cheap that even pennies would net you something.

    Then, once the machine had a decent amount of money in it, you could huff it back across the border and party it up Canadian Style.

  43. kc2idf says:

    Pennies and nickels are trash and should be dropped from the American monetary system. Recycling them is the best thing you can do. I don’t care about the 8.9%, because the 8.9% cost is less than the cost of handling them otherwise.

    To put it into perspective, if you earn federal minimum wage, a penny is only worth 5 seconds of your time. If you spend more than that amount of time handling it, then you have wasted your time.

  44. Mike626 says:

    I balk at Coinstar touting using their machines as environmentally friendly, but their business has a real impact on how much coinage needs to be minted.

    I worked for Coinstar briefly in the mid-nineties, when they were expanding at a breakneck pace. An unintended effect of the Coinstar machines was the “mining” of the stash of pennies in change jars across the US. I forget the exact numbers, but it was significant–so significant in fact that the US Mint asked to meet with representatives of the company to learn more about their expansion plans and to get some hard figures on the number of pennies they were re-introducing into circulation.

    It seems that they noticed that regional orders from banks for penny stock were decreasing dramatically, as the pennies that would normally sit for decades in a jar were being re-introduced into circulation on a large scale. By the late 90s, The US Mint was taking this factor into account when planning on the minting of new pennies.

    I also agree that ~9% is an outrageous price to pay for coin counting. If you don’t have a bank nearby that offers this as a free service, it may still be worth considering having the Coinstar Machine count your change. I know that they offer “free” coin counting if you take your funds in the form of an Amazon Gift Certificate code, and I think there is a similar deal for iTunes credit.

  45. kaptainkk says:

    My kids have a great time using the CoinStar machine. It’s kind of a treat for them. It’s a lot more exciting than having to count and roll up the coins yourself. Rolling coins is fun for them for about the first 5 minutes. It’s very hard for me to say this but in this one case I don’t mind paying a service fee.

  46. ludwigk says:

    @QuiteSpunky: Also the Zinc producers, no doubt, since the Penny is almost entirely Zinc.

  47. QuiteSpunky says:

    @ludwigk: You’re probably right– zinc is quite expensive now too. There’s a nice New Yorker article all about the possibility of taking the penny out of circulation here: []

    Dear Consumerist/Ben: How about a post about the Penny Lobby? It seems pretty hypocritical of Coinstar to on one hand be responsible for keeping the penny in circulation and on the other claiming they are “green” by making you use their machines.

  48. QuiteSpunky says:

    Probably overposting here (Consumerist, please let me keep my vowels!), but here’s a great excerpt from the New Yorker article:

    “Coinstar charges most of its customers 8.9 per cent of any amount they feed into a machine. The fact that consumers happily pay this considerable fee suggests that they wouldn’t be bothered by the vastly smaller penalty that rounding to the nearest nickel might entail. Of course, eliminating cents would also eliminate the middleman-in this case Coinstar, which annually processes about forty billion coins, more than half of which are pennies. Not surprisingly, therefore, Coinstar has been an advocate of preserving pennies. Since 1998, the company has conducted an annual currency poll, which always shows that Americans still love pennies and would prefer to continue getting rid of them by collecting them for months or years and then paying Coinstar to put them back into circulation, instead of getting rid of them once and for all by having the Mint stop making them.” see link in my last post.

  49. UnicornMaster says:

    I hate pennies and coins and change of all sorts. I try not to carry any cash around if i can. Doesn’t anyone else find the jingling in your pockets annoying? Anyway I’m going to go the nearest Coinstar and exchange the $10 in change I have been hording for some lottery tickets. Mega Millions is up to $81 Million!

  50. DePaulBlueDemon says:


    What? You’re getting 8.9% LESS of something.

  51. theblackdog says:

    @RandomHookup: Those people should send the quarters to me, my apt washing machine only takes quarters and there’s no change machine ;-)

    My change (except the quarters) goes into a tin and I figure once the tin is full I’ll get it counted and go do something fun with however much money I get out of it.

  52. RandomHookup says:

    @Mike626: I’ve certainly heard of worse campaigns to tout green. Now that it costs the Mint more money to make a penny than it’s worth, I’m all in favor of the government reusing pennies rather than minting new ones.

  53. HogwartsAlum says:

    There’s nothing green about it. They’re just jumping on a trend bandwagon.

    However, I did really like the Coinstar commercial where the tooth fairy falls down the stairs.

  54. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @ludwigk: Like with Molson Ice and curling?

    Don’t go too crazy, eh?

  55. I am skeptical about this article’s skepticism. If not supply and demand, what else would the government base minting on? Minting is expensive, especially for the negative segniorage ones (Pennies and nickels)–which are the exact coins likely to collect dust at your house because no one uses them to buy things because it would take so damn many of them to amount to anything!

    So if more coins are essentially out of circulation, don’t you think the government notices that? Coinstar no doubt takes your coins straight to a nearby bank every time they empty the machine. The bank then gives those coins out in rolls to McDonalds, the grocery store, etc. The coins they get from CoinStar offset coins the bank would otherwise be ordering from their local Federal Reserve Bank, which would be trucked in from much farther away, as well. Thus meaning they order fewer coins. Thus the government has to mint fewer coins! I’m pretty sure the government looks over their coin orders from the previous time period and says, well we got orders for $50 Billion in pennies last (month/quarter/whatever), so let’s make $50 Billion more for the next period.

    And finally, yes, letting Coinstar keep part of your money is asinine, so you should use the “fee-free” option to get a gift card for somewhere you were going to purchase from anyway. Amazon, JCPenney, iTunes, Starbucks.

    Or they could, you know, de-monetize those worthless pennies and nickels, allow people to cash them in for their metal value (which is higher than their face value), and be done with this nonsense.

  56. econobiker says:

    And I was just saying on another post (using cash at home depot) about why grocery store self-service lanes do not have a small bin to dump change into versus that little slot. Of course it is because alot of stores have a coin star machine…

  57. econobiker says:

    @DeanOfAllTrades: get ya one of those little rubber flat lemon shaped coin holders like all of the old guys have….

    actually coinage doesn’t stay around me alot as i process it quickly, in fact i’ll grab for any silver in the leave a penny use a penny tray on the counter…

  58. mac-phisto says:

    here’s a rash idea – actually use the change to, you know, pay for things with exact change! i use one of these to carry my change – much easier than fumbling thru a pocket to find a nickel (the cover flips open into a tray so that the coins can easily be sorted).

    one of the easiest ways to stretch a dollar is to make sure you’re not breaking one when you only need a quarter.

    & i don’t use coinstar, but i know many people who consider the service invaluable. if it’s worth 9¢ on the dollar to them, so beit.

  59. Starfury says:

    I save up my change and used to roll it then put it in the bank..but my credit union kept giving me crap when I’d bring in 20 rolls of coins plus they didn’t like giving me the empty rolls. Raley’s has one of the coinstar machines that gives you a gift cert instead of cash and Amazon is one of the places. Since I shop there it’s a good deal; I don’t have to roll my coins and when I do cash them in I can go shopping.

    It was fun dumping the $20 of pennies into the machine…

  60. synergy says:

    I see people using the Coinstar change machine at the local grocery story all the time. I agree with the previous commenter who called it the Stupid Tax.

  61. Christovir says:

    This is green-washing, of course, and quite silly.

    However, to dismiss concern for the environment on account of green-washing is akin to dismissing families aa meaningless because many companies once used the “family-ness” of their food as a selling point. Does anyone remember when Saltines were “The Family Cracker”? Don’t let your reaction to marketing BS obscure your perception of whether something is actually important.

  62. gr8chief says:

    There is a hack for getting around the 8.9% fee. Google Coinstar hack. It involves unplugging the telephone cable.

  63. drjayphd says:

    Y’all know Commerce Bank got bought out by TD Banknorth, right? Dunno how that’s going to affect the coin-counting, but they’ll be known as just TD Bank now (TD Commerce Bank got shot down for some reason).

  64. typetive says:

    I throw my spare change in there, buy gift cards for Amazon and donate them to the fire department. Seems to work out well, no extra fees and the fire department can get some much needed equipment (tape recorders, office supplies, kitchen goodies, you name it).

    It is true though that when people hoarde change the government has to make more. Just keeping it in circulation is a huge help. (So try not hanging onto it until you have enough to buy a car.)

  65. cockeyed says:

    Almost all banks let you bring in your change and “cash it in” for free.

  66. milw123 says:

    This might be OT, but when the Coinstar machines were first installed in the local grocery stores around town, they waived the fee if you took the pay out in the form of grocery store credit. The first year my (now) wife and I were set to host Thanksgiving, I cashed in my change to cover the major grocery bill. For the next 2 years, a year’s worth of coins became the “Turkey Fund” until the store credits were replaced with Gift Cards. Haven’t used the counters since.

  67. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @cockeye: If you’re willing to take the time to roll it first, and then stand at the teller while they break open every single roll to make sure that there really are 50 pennies and not 49.

    As for these machines that everybody’s bank seems to have, I haven’t seen a single one anywhere in my stomping grounds, so oh well.

    Call me stupid if you want, but nine cents per dollar to not have to sit and wrap pennies all evening is a fair trade, IMHO

  68. emington says:

    Wouldn’t a new form of recycling be actually *spending* the coins?????

  69. AD8BC says:

    @rainmkr: My bank (Bank of Texas) has free coin counters in the lobby. It’s a great bank, no fees for anything and they cover foreign ATM fees!

    @HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak: You don’t find counting and rolling coins relaxing????

  70. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @AD8BC: No, I find it tedious and mind-numbing.

  71. mythago says:

    @HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak: Pennies? When we lived in an apartment and had to use quarters for laundry, we learned very quickly to break open every single non-bank-wrapped roll, because every single non-bank-wrapped-roll was short, or had slugs, or had Canadian quarters in them. One quarter may not seem like much to you, but they add up. Particularly when you need one more damn quarter to finish your laundry for the week.

    Some banks will let you drop off your coins to be run through their machine, if you accept their count. Just don’t be the moron who comes in with a shoebox full of loose coins expecting the teller to hand-roll them for you.

  72. mechfluff says:

    Come on now guys, this is way more green than sending all of your change off to the landfill like we’ve been doing.

  73. timsgm1418 says:

    @HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak: I have to agree. I’ll roll quarters, dimes and nickels (I hate rolling dimes) but pennies? no way, they go to coin star. I’m another one of those who’s bank does not have coin counters

  74. wiley14 says:

    Some retailers that have the Coinstar machines waive the fee if you take credit and use it there (Kroger and Harris Teeter are the two I know about).

    Also, I’ve seen credit unions that have the coin machines, but not sure if you have to be a member or not to use them.

  75. SableHemlock says:

    My sister and her boyfriend just took their coins to the bank and totally bypassed the Coinstar machine. They funded a trip to the beach and probably still “saved the environment” the way Coinstar claims. I don’t think she had to roll the coins.

    Now she and her boyfriend collect all their change in a piggy bank that keeps track of the amount of money you’ve dumped in. Gives them an idea of how much they’ll get on their next trip to the bank.

  76. puka_pai says:

    My dad gives my kids all the change he collects from paying tolls throughout the year at New Year’s every year. It runs on average about $70/yr and they split it. For years now, I’ve run it through Coinstar at work and got the gift card and paid the kids cash.

    Beats taking it to my (former) credit union. They charged 13.5% percent off the top to count coins if you deposited it, 16% if you didn’t. That’s one of the many reasons I walked away from them and never looked back.

  77. emington says:

    I really still do not understand why people are not just spending this money???

  78. Jesse in Japan says:

    In Japan, people make every effort to pay with exact change. If something costs 546 yen and you have a 500 yen coin, a 50 yen coin, and a couple of one yen coins, you will hand the cashier 551 yen so that you can get a 5 yen coin back instead of 4 ones. I never have more than 20 coins in my possession at any time because they get used before I use bills. Then again, the smallest bill is 1000 yen, so that kind of makes sense.

  79. randomd00d says:

    You might notice that they advertise FREE coin counting now on billboards.

    The catch is that you have to apply it to a gift card to starbucks, amazons, or other selected places. It is not a bad deal really.

    That said, the billboards certainly dont put an asterisk or disclaimer next to the FREE part…

  80. drjayphd says:

    @Jesse in Japan: I try to do the same thing. Kind of annoying to get looks when you pay $11.35 for something that’s $6.35.

  81. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @mythago: As I’ve already mentioned, none of those banks are in my area.

  82. brandyk says:

    Ouch. A little harsh on coinstar. If you use itunes or amazon (or somewhere else where they give a gift certificate at coinstar with free counting), coinstar rocks. Yes, totally dumb to use if you’re going to pay 8.9%, but that’s what we call the stupid tax.

  83. MasterThief says:


    Yep. (The certificates work even if you buy used books, which are a great deal even in themselves.)

  84. closed_account says:

    I use Coinstar with all of my change. I get an Amazon card with it (no fee). I then load the card into my account. That is all the money I allow myself to spend at Amazon.

  85. elisa says:

    I try to use exact change if possible, or at least get change in a silver coin denomination (eg 5, 10, 15, etc cents). I use a tiny coin purse, and it works a charm! No need for any coin counting machines or rolls.