Coinstar Gift Card Exchange kiosks used to offer a great way to sell your gift cards for instant cash, with locations all over the world.
However, they’ve now switched to a model focusing on cashing in pennies (and other coins) for gift cards, like an Amazon cash voucher, rather than the other way around where you could exchange a gift card from Amazon to cash.
This means that if you’re looking for a gift card exchange kiosk, you may have to look elsewhere. Fortunately, we’ve found some great alternatives for you – including some options to sell your gift cards online electronically instantly!
Can you exchange gift cards for cash at Coinstar?
Coinstar Gift Card Exchange kiosks used to offer a way for you to exchange gift cards for cash. This meant if, say, you wanted to exchange an Amazon gift card for cash because you don’t like shopping on Amazon or because it was expiring, you could just find a kiosk near you and turn that credit from Amazon to cash.
However, they’ve now removed their gift card exchange kiosks, reportedly due to the high cost of renting floor space from stores for these. This means that, for now, Coinstar kiosks have become:
- Places where you can deposit coins, including serving as a coin counting machine. This is then exchanged for a gift card (including from Amazon) or a charity donation
- A way to exchange coins for notes
- Coinstar bitcoin sellers, in that you can exchange cash for bitcoins
- An Amazon coin machine, in that you can get an Amazon cash voucher by using cash to add to your Amazon balance (making it basically the same as getting an Amazon gift card)
There’s a chance that they’ll update their services in the near future to allow you to sell your gift cards online but this isn’t the case yet. That said, we’ll be sure to update this article once that happens.
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What gift cards did Coinstar Exchange accept?
Coinstar Gift Card Exchange did accept a wide range of gift cards from over 150 retailers. These included major ones like Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks and more.
However, as mentioned, their kiosks no longer serve as a way for you to do a gift card exchange for cash – although there are other options.
Does Coinstar give gift cards?
Coinstar does give gift cards in exchange for cash! All you have to do is go to a Coinstar kiosk, choose the gift card you want, put your coins in the slot and you’ll receive your gift card to use online or in-store.
They have a huge range of retailers to choose from, including Amazon, Dominos, Gap, Nike, Sephora, Starbucks and iTunes.
What is the fee for Coinstar Gift Card Exchange?
The Coinstar gift card exchange rate is one-to-one. That is, however much you put into the machine is how much your gift card will be worth.
However, when you exchange coins for notes, be aware that there’s an 11.9% service fee. This is pretty steep, especially as it means that if you deposit $100 of coins, you’ll lose almost $12 of this. This is why it can be a good idea to check for other options where you can cash in change for free.
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How can I cash in change for free?
The best way to cash in change for free is to go to a bank that will do this for you. Not every bank offers this service, so make sure you call ahead to avoid having to carry a bunch of coins across town unnecessarily.
Some banks also require you to pre-roll the coins, which isn’t so hard once you get the hang of it but can take some time to figure out. If you’d rather avoid doing this, perhaps try contacting a few different banks before resigning yourself to an afternoon of wrestling with your spare change.
If you do want to attempt to do this yourself, figure out what value each roll of coins has to be, which is going to depend on the value of each individual coin. You can see the full list here.
So say you want a roll of dimes – you’re going to need 50 coins equalling $5. Do a stack of these and measure how long they are, then add around three to four inches on each end. This is how long each piece of paper is going to be.
Cut a bunch beforehand using some spare paper that you have lying around, as this is going to be easier than stopping and starting to cut more. From there, good luck! … and maybe check a few YouTube videos beforehand to see the best, quickest, least frustrating way to do this.
Where’s a Coinstar Gift Card Exchange near me?
To find a Coinstar Gift Card Exchange kiosk near you, go to their website and simply enter your location to find any of their kiosks in the US or internationally.
To find a kiosk near you in the US, go to this page. You’ll also find links to Coinstar’s websites in other countries if you’d like to find a kiosk near you there.
Do Coinstar cash vouchers expire?
Coinstar cash vouchers expire on the date printed on them. This is usually 24 to 48 hours after your voucher is printed.
This is because you’re supposed to print the Coinstar cash voucher then immediately go to the cash register in the store where the kiosk is located to exchange the voucher for cash.
Not only does this help you get your cash quicker, it’s also much more secure so you don’t accidentally lose your voucher or have it stolen from you.
Can you exchange a gift card for cash at Walmart?
You cannot exchange a gift card for cash at Walmart. It can only be used to purchase merchandise from Walmart.
The one exception is if your gift card balance is very low, such as less than $1. In those cases, Walmart may give you what’s left in cash.
You can, however, exchange your Walmart gift card for cash at other places – including (previously) at Coinstar Gift Card Exchange kiosks.
Can you sell gift cards for cash anywhere in-person?
If you’re looking to do an in-person gift card exchange for cash, your options aren’t as varied as they used to be in previous years.
Some major shopping malls do still sometimes have gift card exchange kiosks from various companies, but these are becoming less and less as these companies shift to an online-only model due to the costs involved in maintaining physical kiosks.
There used to be an option from Target where you could exchange unwanted gift cards for a Target gift card, although it wouldn’t be a one-to-one exchange. That is, they’d only exchange a percentage of the balance of the original gift card for Target credit.
Unfortunately, all of the information about this is pretty outdated and on Target’s website itself, it doesn’t look like there’s any information any more, so it seems that this is no longer a possibility.
This means that the most likely way to sell gift cards for cash is if you sell them on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. If you’ve ever seen someone trying to sell a $100 Amazon gift card for $75 on there, this is what we’re talking about.
Of course, the biggest risk here is fraud in that sellers may be hesitant to do this when they have no way of knowing if the gift card you’re selling is legit. This is partly why you need to offer your gift card at such a discounted rate: any buyer doing this is taking a risk in giving you their money.
Nevertheless, it’s definitely an option!
Are there any online Coinstar alternatives?
The best online Coinstar alternative when it comes to doing a gift card exchange for cash is definitely Gift Card Granny.
It’s essentially an aggregator of a bunch of legit sites that let you sell gift cards online. What this means is that you simply put in the gift card you want to sell and the balance on this. The site will then show you a list of other sites that would be willing to buy this from you as well as the price they’re offering, which will be up to around 92% of the balance.
You can see an example below when I asked to sell a $100 gift card from Target.
Just know that, in some cases, you can’t sell gift cards online electronically instantly with this method, as the sites will mostly only pay you once they’ve verified that your card is legit. Depending on how you ask to be paid, it can also take a couple of days for the money to arrive.
What can you do with unwanted gift cards?
You have a few options for things you can do with unwanted gift cards:
- Sell your unwanted gift card for cash in-person
- Use a gift card exchange website to sell it online
- Donate the gift card to charity
- Gift it to someone
- Exchange it for a different retailer’s gift card with someone you know
- Use the gift card to purchase things for you to then sell
- Return the gift card to the retailer if they will accept it
Final thoughts on using a Coinstar Gift Card Exchange
While it may no longer be possible to find a Coinstar Gift Card Exchange kiosk near you, there are plenty of Coinstar alternatives for those looking to do a gift card exchange for cash.
In particular, selling them online appears to be the easiest and most secure option. The fact that these sites can guarantee to buyers that the gift cards are legit means that you’re likely to get your cash the fastest through there, as buyers are less hesitant to purchase gift cards through there compared to, say, Craigslist.
That said, using the gift card to buy something which you can then resell could see you getting more money for the item than you would if someone bought your gift card for a percentage of the balance. This is especially the case if you use the gift card to buy an item that’s on sale, meaning you may be able to resell it at its full price.
Either way, it’s safe to say that you definitely have some options if you’re stuck with an unwanted gift card!
About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured on Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a six-figure investment portfolio. Find out more.