Coins Into Cash

Everyone seems to have spare change that’s just lying around. Thanks to
an innovative new program from Coinstar, you can now take that spare change
and use it to buy stuff on

Coinstar operates units at 44,000 retail locations that help consumers
convert their loose change into cash or credit. Under the new offer
announced today with Amazon, Coinstar will now allow users to convert
their loose change into Amazon Gift Certificates that can be used online at

The Amazon deal with Coinstar resulted partially from the two
companies being neighbors. The Amazon program follows another program that Coinstar started with another Seattle firm, Starbucks.

“Following the success with our ‘Coin to Card’ pilot program last year
with the Starbucks card, we began conversations with top retailers in
categories that our customers are interested in,” Marci Maule, Coinstar spokeswoman, told “Amazon is a natural because they cross nearly all
categories (32 lines and millions of products) and have no geographic
boundaries because of the nature of online.”

Normally Coinstar charges a transaction fee for the service, but it will not
for the Amazon gift certificates. Maule explained that Coinstar’s gift card
and eCertificate partners in the Coin to Card program essentially fund the
fee, allowing them to extend a fee-free transaction to consumers.

“Everybody wins, consumers get a fee-free transaction and Amazon can now
offer their customers an easy and convenient way to use cash online,” Maule
said. “Coinstar attracts new users by providing a no fee transaction and the
host retailer (supermarkets) benefits through increased store traffic.”

Maule wasn’t able to say how many Coinstar users they expect will opt
for an Amazon gift certificate, but she is very optimistic.

“The breadth of selection that Amazon offers, combined with the no fee will be quite compelling,” Maule said.

“We do know that 70 percent
of U.S. households are aware of Coinstar and we have an ever tried rate at
our machines of 23 percent of households and a substantial number of people
tell us that the fee is an obstacle.

“So that gap of people who are aware, but have not yet tried Coinstar,
presents a great opportunity.”

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