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Old 10-02-2006, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,268
How does CoinStar survive as a business?

Coinstar is the company that owns those coin-counting kiosks you typically see at the entrance of many grocery stores in the US.

Ostensibly, they provide you the service of counting and redeeming a jarful of coins into paper money and so save you "the time and effort of sorting, rolling and taking them to the bank." Cost is 8.9 cents (US) per dollar counted; the fee is waived if you take your cash as a giftcard/e-certificate to certain affiliated retailers like Amazon, ITunes, Borders, etc.

At every bank where I've every had an account, the bank provides coin-counting for free, without requiring you roll them in advance (in fact, most banks break the rolls open anyway to make sure you aren't pulling a fast one). And although Coinstar does save me the "hassle" of transporting the coins to the bank, they replace it with the equal hassle of transporting the coins to the grocery store.

I simply cannot believe there are enough people without a bank account or interested in giftcards to make this a profitable business. Obviously they are; they've been around--according to their website--since 1991. What am I missing here?

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