My sons and I operate a vending machine at our neighborhood pool and donate the proceeds to This leaves us with large piles of coins and dollar bills that we would like to turn into larger bills. I know of three ways to do this:

  1. Deposit a large bag of coins and small bills at the bank
  2. Use a Coinstar coin sorting machine
  3. Use the Wal-Mart Self-Checkout Conversion Method™

Large bag of coins and bills is a good solution if you have a local bank willing to do this. We switched banks recently and the new bank would accept coins we rolled ourselves, but would not count them. For several hundred coins this is not a time-effective solution and prone to error.

Coinstar takes a fee of 11.9%(!). Send your coins to me and I’ll do it for 5% :-). UPDATE: Coinstar will give you credit in the form of an electronic gift certificate for no fee. For my purposes, I’d rather have the cash.

So that leaves the Wal-Mart Self-Checkout Conversion Method. Here are the steps:

  • Find an item or items at Wal-Mart that cost – with tax – slightly more than the largest bill you wish to convert to (So $10.74 for a $10, $22.04 for a $20, etc).
  • Scan the purchase at the register and choose to pay with cash.
  • Enter the small bills or coins into the machine taking care not to exceed the purchase price.
    • Coins can be fed faster by lifting up the flap around the slot.
    • When the green light turns off there are too many coins; wait for the machine to count.
  • Choose “Cancel Payment” and the machine will give you change in large bills for the currency already entered. If you deposit $10.25 in quarters, “Cancel Payment” will return a $10 and a quarter.
  • Repeat this cycle until you have exhausted your small bills and coins.
  • Finish either by purchasing the item(s) or flag down an associate and cancel the purchase.

I have converted over $100 in coins and dollar bills in $20 bills for no fees and minimal time-expense.