Amazon Thinks Every Penny Counts

All those loose coins sitting around your house are music to Amazon’s ears. The popular e-commerce site announced on Tuesday a program that will allow users of Coinstar counting machines to cash in their extra change for gift certificates.

Coinstar normally charges an 8.9 percent convenience fee for use of its machines. However, by selecting the option to receive an Amazon gift certificate, users would be able to bypass the charge.

While Coinstar is not making money through convenience fees, it is making money off of each gift certificate sold, as Amazon is selling them to the company at a discount.

Both companies feel that such a deal will help expand their reach. Amazon’s customer base is largely made up of those with credit cards, and Coinstar’s growth has been limited by reluctance by consumers to pay the fee. With the deal, Amazon could now target cash-carrying consumers and Coinstar may be able to broaden its user base. The program will initially be made available on 3,500 machines, with up to 5,000 machines offering the service by the end of the year, according to Coinstar. Since some machines also accept bills, a user could also load up a gift certificate by inserting bills into the machine.

Amazon is not the first company to sell gift certificates through Coinstar. Popular coffee store chain Starbucks last year successfully ran a pilot program that worked much in the same way. The Starbucks program now is offered on most Coinstar machines, along with gift cards from Hollywood Video and Pier 1 Imports.


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