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March 27, 2021

Coin counters: rolling with the times

CoinsI remember my father with his neat stacks of coins lined up on the kitchen table, ready to roll up into coin wrappers of every denomination.

Quarters, nickels, dimes and, of course --- lots and lots of pennies!

He had a lot of patience sorting and counting the change and I admired how he managed to stuff those neat stacks of coins into the little paper wrappers with expert precision.

Now, many banks across the country are rolling out coin counting machines to offer convenience for all that spare change laying around the house.

I admit...I have used coin counting machines before which were located at local grocery stores. You toss in all your loose change and the machine would spit out a receipt with the total -- minus a small user fee. Then you would take the receipt to the courtesy desk where the cashier would then dispense your bills.

Now, many banks across the nation are offering this service for free to their personal banking customers.

Diana Morrone, Vice President, Retail Solutions, TD Canada Trust, says, "Our commitment to comfortable banking means we constantly look for opportunities to raise the bar in customer service.

"From longer hours to Sunday banking, this national network of coin counters is our latest way to deliver on this promise," she says, noting that the bank is planning on installing 300 automated coin counting machines in branches Canada-wide this year.

According to TD Canada Trust research, 69 per cent of Canadians avoid paying for purchases with change and prefer to use debit or credit cards; while others just don't like to carry heavy change around or don't want to count it out at the cash register.

And if you're anything like me, I get a tad bit annoyed standing behind someone at the cash register taking forever and holding up the line trying to find just the right amount of change in their pocketbook for their purchase. There have been occasions when I have just handed them the money to pay for their transaction just to get them to move on.

We are moving towards a cashless society with debit, credit, online payments, smart phone payments, swipe, insert, wave and tap.

So what will we do with all this spare change that we have left hanging around?

Well, TD Canada Trust offers some suggestions. According to their research, 96 per cent of Canadians know approximately how much coinage they have laying around while 27 per cent admit they have at least $50 in change.

The automated coin machines will sort your change and print out a receipt which can be cashed or deposited into your account at the teller.

However there are other options. For instance, even small amounts will help to pay down credit card debt. Or you can open a Registered Education Plan (RESP) for your son or daughter; open a high-interest savings account to save for that vacation; or even make an extra annual mortgage payment.

I'm pretty sure I have a decent stash of cash hidden in my couches, laundry room and vehicle. But hey, who's counting?

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money    

Have you or will you take advantage of the automated coin counting machines? What do you plan on doing with your spare change?           



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

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