Today’s post is all about the places you can cash in coins for free but before I do. that, let me tell you what inspired my post. 😂
I was in my little Asda yesterday looking for Easter Eggs (which is a whole other story but the moral to that one is don’t presume your 18-year-old won’t want an Easter Egg just because she’s 18) when I heard raised voices at the front of the shop. I have no clue what was going on but I did hear an angry man saying that he was going to come back and pay for his shopping using the contents of his copper jar. The lovely man in the shop handled him really well and explained that if he did, his payment wouldn’t be accepted to which angry man replied ‘it’s legal tender, you can’t refuse it’. Lovely man gave him a slightly smug smile and explained that there were laws limiting the amount you could pay in coins.
At this point, I couldn’t delay moving on any longer so I couldn’t hear the end of the conversation but I did come home and Google whether there were in fact rules about how much you could pay in coins.
Turns out there is and shops can genuinely refuse to accept your payment if you try to use too many coins to pay with. I genuinely had no idea that there were rules around but the British Coinage Act (1971) is pretty strict:
You can only pay for up to 20p worth of goods with 1p or 2p coins
You can only pay for up to £5 worth of goods with 5ps or 10ps
You can only pay for up to £10 worth of goods with 20ps or 50ps
£1 and £2 coins can be used for any amount
You can pay more if the person or business you’re paying are happy to accept more so those stories you’ve heard about people paying fines in small change to prove a point could well be true. So, if you can’t spend all that money you’ve been saving in your copper jar then what are your options?
1) Where to cash in coins for FREE – Use your bank
OK, you are super limited here with your bank being pretty much the only option you have available. Some banks have coin machines so you don’t have to sort your coins before paying them in but do check if your branch has one of those before you go because if they don’t, you’re going to need to sort your coins into money bags. You can get money bags free of charge from your bank and can then use them to sort your copper into bags of £1 and your silver into bags of £5.
You’re absolutely not going t be popular in your bank if you just hand over your money with everything unsorted and they’ll probably (understandably) send you away with some money bags and tell you to come back when you’re sorted when they’ll happily cash them in for you and the money will be available to withdraw from your bank account almost instantly.
2) Where to cash in coins for FREE – Use a self-service checkout
Most self-service checkouts don’t have a limit on how much you can pay in so it’s worth using one of those machines when you’re paying for your shopping and then using your coins to make the payment. Even though there’s generally not a limit and there’s not going to be a grumpy checkout assistant rolling her eyes as you count out all your coins, I personally wouldn’t be using all my copper to pay and I’d probably only be comfortable using my silver coins to pay for smaller top-up shops rather than my full-on weekly shop.
3) Where to cash in coins for a small charge – Use a Coinstar machine
Most supermarkets these days have a Coinstar machine which you can use to literally pour in your unsorted coins into the machine to cash them in. It’s really is super easy and super convenient but as you’d expect, there is a charge for that convenience and that charge has recently gone up to 10.9% which means for every pound you’re cashing in, you’re going to be charged 10.9p which quickly adds up if you have a big chunk to pay in.
I can see how it’s worth it for some people though (I’ve used Coinstar myself in the past because of how easy it is) as it’s pretty much open whenever your supermarket is and you can just take your whole jar of coins to the machine without sorting it at all. You just tip the coins into a tray and then tilt the tray to pour the coins into the machine which counts it up and displays a running total on the screen so you can see how much you’re paying in as you go along. Once it’s done, it spits out any rejected coins and then prints you off a voucher which you can take to Customer Services to be cashed if you’re not planning to use it off your shopping as some places let you do this.
4) Where to cash in coins for free and do good at the same time
There’s always the option of the charity box that you’ll often see near a till point so you can donate your loose change to a charity. I know it’s not going to be an option for the big amounts but if we all put our loose change into a charity box every now and again rather than popping it into our purses or wallets then the world would absolutely be a better place. 😇
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