There comes a time in every little piggy banks life, where there just isn’t any more room in the little piggy for any more coins. Unfortunately for my little piggy bank, his time has come, and so I’ve decided that it is time to cash in all my coins for some lighter notes, or some extra dollars in my online banking account.
I’m no stranger when it comes to cashing in my coins – I normally just take it to the bank and see what number pops up. The last time I did it I ended up scoring $250. I don’t know about you, but that’s some decent money and certainly something I’m interested in being able to spend.
What I hadn’t really thought about though, is just how accurate these coin counting machines were. I always assumed they were 100% accurate, however, after talking to a friend about my plans to head to my local branch and cash in my coins, he told me that I should count them out first to be sure I don’t get ripped off.
I thought he was pulling my leg, but as it turns out, these machines can actually yield some pretty dodgy results. The most interesting article I found on the topic was by Peter Meyers from the Wall Street Journal. He had a machine short change him by $7.02 out of a total of $87.26 (almost 10%).
I thought this was interesting, so I decided to do my own testing. Unfortunately that meant counting out all my coins (which took far longer than I would care to admit). The results were as I originally expected, the two machines I used came out almost exactly to the number I had counted. 1 machine was 10 cents off, the other 15 cents – not really a big deal, and this could have been a counting mistake by me to be honest.
What I didn’t expect was the fee for using the machine. I was really caught off guard by this. I assumed it was going to be free, I mean every other time I had cashed my coins it had been free.
I couldn’t believe it. $5 to count $200 worth of coins. I even spoke to the person at the bank and asked them what the deal was – I really felt like I was being ripped off. Apparently the reason was to allow for maintenance of the device. I asked how many people use the machine per day, and how often it was maintained. She told me that it was used by about 15 to 20 people a day, but wasn’t sure on the maintenance schedule.
Even still, 20 people a day is $100 x 5 days a week = $500. I told the woman she could buy a brand new coin counter after only a week or 2 with those fees. I was so annoyed by the fee that I even started researching coin counters to buy – turns out there are lots of different ones available.
When I got home though, I had a rethink regarding how much time I spent counting the coins, and compared to the amount of time I spent counting the coins, $5 is a bit of a bargain in terms of hourly rate. Plus, I don’t really want to get into the coin counting business full time, so buying a coin counting machine probably isn’t going to be worth my while. Fortunately there are still free machines available, so I will continue going there when I need coins counted, just be aware that they may not be accurate.