Any savvy saver will know throwing your spare change and pennies into a coin jar is a great way to manage your money.
There are a few coin-counting machines dotted around the high street where you can change up your coins for vouchers or transfer them straight into your bank account.
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Although it is always handy to have some coins in your pocket, or you’ve been saving up in the 1p saving challenge, there is actually a limit to the number of coins a shop can take when buying goods.
So if you don’t want to hold up the cashier when you’re next in the shops, take a quick look at our guide to where you can change up your pennies in no time.
Limits on change in a shop
There is actually a limit to the number of coins a shopkeeper will take, so don’t think you can pay for all your shopping using your collected coins!
Although your loose change might be legal tender, there are laws around this:
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
Where to cash in coins for free
BEFORE CASHING IN ANY COINS – check you’ve not got any rare coins hiding in your change, as they could be worth a lot more than face value.
Use a self-service checkout in the shops
We love this idea, and it’s perfect for little ones as they can feed the coins in the machine for you. This is ideal if you are just buying one or two items.
Most self-service checkouts don’t have a limit on how much-unsorted change you can pay, 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.
Probably best to use this idea for a small amount of shopping otherwise, you might get some dirty looks from other punters waiting to pay.
Donate to charity
Turn coppers into goodness by donating to charity.
There are always plenty of charity collection boxes in shops.
And there are always those ones with a swirly pattern so you can see your coins twirl off.
Another bit of frugal fun if you have little ones with you.
Cash in for goodies at an amusement arcade
Ok, so effectively not cashing in your coins, but if you have tons of coins and are looking for a fun day out in the summer holidays or a rainy day, youngsters will be quite happy with a little tub of coins to use on the arcades.
This can be a relatively cost-free day, and you might get lucky and win some toys or bags of sweets in the process too.
Spend it on small items
Spend your pennies on small items such as buying a newspaper or a pint of milk.
Some shops have postage stamp machines where you feed in your coins and individual postage stamps are printed out for you to tear off. There is no limit on the number of coins and this can be a great way to use up all those 5ps in your saving jar and always have a couple of stamps handy too.
Keep change in the car
Have a small pot of spare change in the car and avoid fumbling around for change when you need pound coins for a parking meter, shopping trolley or car wash.
You’ll feel super organised for doing this and will be putting your coin jars to good use.
Spare change for sweeties
When you have little ones at home they often love a treat at the shops. So some spare change can come in handy for an icy pole or a small chocolate bar.
Kids can feel grown-up handing the money over in the shop and using cash is a great introduction to handling money.
Where to find free coin counting machines
Use your bank
Your bank is probably the only place you could literally cash in your coin jars for bigger denominations or have the money put into your account. But don’t think about turning up at your local branch with an unsorted pot of change. Your cashier will want you to have all your coins pre-sorted for them.
Coin machines in banks
Some banks have coin machines – here’s what we found:
Metro Bank has coin-sorting machines called Money Magic Machines.
There is no charge for using them, although you do need to be a customer.
They are designed for kids, and they get a lolly after adding their change. Although, I’ve never seen them stop an adult from using a machine.
Some Barclays branches have free coin deposit machines but very few of them, so it is worth ringing ahead before you head to your nearest branch with your bags of coins.
You usually need to be a customer to use the machine.
In a similar way to Barclays, not all HSBC branches have coin counting machines.
Call ahead to your branch to find out.
You will need to be an HSBC customer to use the machine.
Natwest also has a bulk coin machine in some branches – they take your unsorted coins, which are then transferred into a voucher.
The cashiers in Natwest will exchange this voucher for cash.
Again it is worth ringing ahead to your branch or asking other banks and checking before you set off.
Most banks offer free money bags to sort your coins
Before you head to your nearest coin machines, try sorting your collected coins out at home, here’s a guide. Once you have a decent amount, you can head off to a bank.
For bronze coins, so 1p or 2p coins, they ask for no more than £1 total.
You can get the money bags for free from most banks. Then take the bags home and get the kids to all count and sort the coins for you before heading off to your local branch.
Usually, you’ll sort your copper into bags of £1 and your silver into bags of £5.
How many 5p’s or 10p’s in a bag?
Again, no mixed coins here and a total of £5 in each bag.
How many 20ps or 50p’s in A bag?
£10 total coins in each bag and no mixed coins.
Where to deposit coins for a small charge
Use a Coinstar machine
You’ve probably seen these Coinstar machines in most supermarkets.
These coin counters are great because they don’t require any pre-sorting – you literally just take your coin jar and pour your unsorted coins into the machine and it’s all done for you.
You are then given a voucher for the amount, which you can either put towards your shopping or cash out at the checkout. You also have customer services on hand to answer any questions.
There is a fee for using Coinstar, around 10%, so for every £1 you put in, you’ll be paying 10p.