Convert Gift Cards into Cash with Coinstar Exchange Kiosks

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Good afternoon everyone, if you bought groceries lately, you may have seen a tall yellow machine next to the familiar green Coinstar kiosk.  The tall yellow machine is a Coinstar Exchange kiosk where you can convert gift cards to cash in a few minutes.  Let me show you how it works…

Coinstar Exchange 01 Kiosk

Below the touchscreen monitor, there are 3 components.

  • On the left side, there is a magnetic stripe reader and barcode scanner.
  • In the center, there is a gift card deposit slot.
  • On the right side, there is a receipt printer.

To start the process, tap the touchscreen and scan your gift card.  You can run the gift card through the magnetic stripe reader or hold the gift card under the barcode scanner.  Depending on the gift card, you may need to try both options.  Not all gift cards are accepted, which makes it more difficult to tell if your gift card is working.

To test out the payouts, I brought a handful of different gift cards to the store and tested them out.  Here is are the payout for 3 different gift cards”

  • Panera Bread: $27.04 for a $42.92 gift card (63% face value)
  • Chipotle: $15.75 for a $25.00 gift card (63% face value)
  • Elephant Bar: $31.50 for a $50.00 gift card (63% face value)

It appears that all gift cards (at least restaurant gift cards) are only worth 63% face value.  Not a great payout, but if you want cash fast, this is the fastest way to go.

You can also type in the name of the gift card if the system cannot automatically determine the name of the gift card.  Some gift cards have PINs, so you will need to end the PIN to proceed.  The current value and payout price will be displayed on the last screen.

According to Gift Card Granny, you could sell an Elephant Bar gift card for 65-70.5% face value online, which represents a 7% higher payout than what Coinstar will offer.

Gift Card Granny Sell Elephant Bar Gift Cards Gift Card Granny Buy Elephant Bar Gift Cards

If you decide to accept Coinstar’s price, you have to jump through a few hoops to complete the transaction.  You need to verify your identity by swiping your driver’s license and then swiping your credit card, which acts like a security deposit on the funds.

You then need to enter your zipcode, phone number, and email address.

After completing the above steps, the middle slot opens and you can insert your gift card.

After that, a receipt will print out that you can take to the register and redeem for cash.  The cashier is instructed to check your driver’s license again to verify your identity.

Lastly, you will receive a confirmation email from Coinstar with details of your transaction.

CoinStar Elephant Bar Gift Card Email Receipt

Bottom line, will I use the Coinstar Exchange kiosk again?  Probably not.  The payouts are very low compared to what you can get online and there are many hoops to jump through in order to sell your gift cards.  If there was a situation where I received a gift card for a place I did not shop at and Gift Card Granny did not have that merchant listed online, then I would probably go back to the Coinstar Exchange kiosk.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone.

59 thoughts on “Convert Gift Cards into Cash with Coinstar Exchange Kiosks

  1. Brant

    What a terrible idea for consumers, but what a great idea for Coinstar!! Plenty of people who got gift cards for Christmas or birthdays who will step right up to get ripped off at one of the slot machines!!

    Hey Grant, I sent you a not on another thread, but I’ll ask you here also. I just activated my REDcard temporary card. Can I load it at Target from my CC right away or do I have to wait for the perm card to come in the mail?

    Thanks

    Brant

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I just replied to your question on the other post. The Coinstar Exchange kiosk is a good idea but the execution is bit bumpy. Not sure many people know what it does.

      Reply
      1. carrie Moore

        can I exchange a Home depot gift card for a Mastercard/visa card, thru the Kiosk? what are the penalties for that?

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          I’m sure you can sell a Home Depot GC to the kiosk, but you can only receive a slip of paper that you can exchange for cash at a cashier.

          Reply
  2. Melissa

    Thanks for stopping by to check out Coinstar Exchange and reviewing the kiosk! We appreciate that you took the time to offer feedback on your experience – we’ll pass your thoughts along to our product team.

    Reply
  3. Robbie

    Just wondering.how.do they determine the amount you will get back? So will I get more money back if I cash out a walmart giftcard compared to a walgreens giftcard?

    Reply
  4. Justin Slack

    hey i have a question i have a gift card that was for 500.00 at walmat and their is 310.60 on it now can you use gift cards that are semi used and if not anyone know if i can buy a gift card with a gift card so i could use it?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      since you have $310.60 left on your Walmart gift card, you can still use it in-store and online. You may or may not be able to buy another gift card with a Walmart gift card, just depends on the cashier you go to.

      Reply
      1. Justin Slack

        oh no i’m asking will the coin star kiosk that’s buys gift cards buy the walmart gift card that has 310.60 still on it?

        Reply
          1. Justin Slack

            Thank you i was looking all over google for that answer and couldn’t find a thing and i would sell it online but i don’t want the wait i want to give the card and get the cash lol you wouldn’t happen to know the percentage i would get for it would you like a general % give or take?

          2. Grant

            I priced out 3 gift cards:

            Panera Bread: $27.04 for a $42.92 gift card (63% face value)
            Chipotle: $15.75 for a $25.00 gift card (63% face value)
            Elephant Bar: $31.50 for a $50.00 gift card (63% face value)

            So my best guess would be 63% of face value. So your $310.60 Walmart gift card would probably go for $195.68. Walmart might have a higher percentage, but I have no idea the actual amount.

          3. Justin Slack

            hey you asked if i could reply on the whole being able to cash in used gift cards at the kiosk and the answer is yes you can, it was a gift card worth $500.00 i used the card till it was at $310.60 when i went to the coin star kiosk i got $220.15, so if anyone asks yes you can take your used cards to coinstar as long as their is a min. balance of $20.00 or more.

          4. Grant

            Thank you for the update Justin. I’m glad you were able to get a price quote on your Walmart gift card. Did you decide to sell it to the kiosk?

          5. Justin Slack

            yeah i did since i needed the cash more then the gift card it was okay for me i mean i got 220.00 for it, if it had bin some low number like 100.00 I wouldn’t of done it, and thank you for the help as well.

  5. Shauna Zimmerman

    I tried to use the kiosk the other day and it told me I had too much gift card activity and I had to come back another day. I tried the next day and got the same auto-response. How long do I have to wait until it will take the card?

    Reply
  6. Shauna Zimmerman

    I sold 2 on Friday and one on Sunday. I got the message Tuesday and Wednesday. They’re perfectly good gift cards. It said it was being careful due to fraud. Uhm… I don’t know how to commit fraud! Haha.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I would just call Coinstar and ask them to remove the block on your account. If you can bring a friend or relative, then can complete the process with your gift cards.

      Reply
  7. Shauna Zimmerman

    I thought about that too. I guess I was a little surprised. It’s the beginning of January. Of course I got gift cards for Christmas that I don’t really want or need… They weren’t that big of returns offered and they were all different places. So much for convenience!

    Reply
    1. Grant

      If you decide to call, you can figure out if there is a “velocity” limit for the number of GCs you can sell per week. That would be good for others in a similar situation.

      Reply
    1. Grant

      I’m not sure. At the time of writing this, only physical gift cards were tried, but CoinStar may have updated the system to accept egift cards.

      Reply
      1. Terri Smiley

        Coinstar Exchange does not accept E-gift cards or merchandise (store) credit cards at this time. I hope they consider changing that in the future.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          Thank you for the update, Terri. I think there is less fraud with egift cards and store credit gift cards, so that is probably why CoinStar does not accept those gift cards at the moment.

          Reply
  8. Sedina Didok

    Coinstar doesn’t except Macy’s, Nordstrom or Target gift cards ,,so save a trip if you have those. I went to 3 diff locations and then called the number on machine and was told at this time they don’t except them in future they may add them. It’s actually stupid since Macy’s and Nordstrom are top stores.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Maybe they have too much inventory of those merchants so they don’t want to buy anymore. You can sell your gift cards online by going through giftcardgranny.com.

      Reply
  9. Lisa Tyler

    Coinstar makes you an offer and you can either except or decline. I had two Toys r Us cards for $50 ea. They offered me $61. I accepted it cause I needed money now but what if I decline offer, do they make another offer or just cancel transaction?

    Reply
  10. Jamie

    I’m having a hard time finding a list online of the gift cards that they do except I just need to know if they accept the Staples card

    Reply
  11. Mike

    So if you do not have a credit card or debit card you can not use the coin star for gift cards is that right ?

    Reply

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