Thursday, January 18, 2007

Coinstar -- convert coins to e-certificates without commission

Coinstar is a company which provides coin-to-bill conversion services. You see those big machines in many superstores etc. You just pour your coins and it prints out an equivalent coupon for you to cash or buy things at the store. That has been a nice feature to get rid of all those pennies, nickels,dimes, quarters that accumulate when we do cash transactions. But, in the past, Coinstar has charged a commission of around 9% which can be expensive.

No more if you are willing to use e-certificates from many retailers such as, Starbucks, Timberland etc. No commission charged. You get a gift certificate for the whole amount which you can use to buy whatever you want, say at or elsewhere. It's neat little enhancement to entice people back to those coinstar machines. It works quite well. Coin counting is fast and efficient. You just pour coins into a bin and slide them into the counter. Then when done, it spews out a receipt with the gift card which you can validate on the web sites of the retailers.

Do not underestimate how much money you may have in coins. I today generated 2 e-certificates amounting around 385 dollars. That's quite something. Since I shop at quite a bit, it works for me.

Good show Coinstar and retailers who have partnered. You certainly have created a niche.

Btw, Coinstar is a publicly traded company. Stock has done very well over last few years although quite expensive from P/E standpoint.


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