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If I take coins to the coin counter in a bank and don't have an account with them, can they give me half the amount worth and then refuse to give me back my change to go somewhere else?

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    Welcome new user. Which bank was it? Roughly how much money was it? – Fattie Mar 26 at 10:39
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    As with any service, you should always ask what the fee is for performing that service before engaging in it. This is really no different than asking a plumber to fix a leak without asking for a price first. – Kevin Mar 26 at 15:26
  • Is it possible in the US to not accept a legal way of payment? Or make you pay a fee for that? In France for instance cash will always be accepted (it is forbidden to refuse, even if this is a sack of coins) - up to 3000€ (above which you have to pay in a different way for money laundering reasons). Someone can refuse a check or a credit card, but never cash. – WoJ Mar 26 at 21:18
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That completely depends on the circumstances.

If their T&Cs say that they charge a fee for counting coins, e. g. when they are over a certain amount or number, then sure, this is lawful.

If the fee depends on whether you are a customer with them or not, and they clearly say so, as well.

If you weren't aware of that fee and they already started processing the coins before you was aware about that fee, they might not be able to stop the process.

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    I do struggle with the notion (implied by the OP) that they were never advised of the fees before the bank started processing the coins. If they did then that's unprofessional (and perhaps unethical) on their part, or perhaps the person just wasn't really listening when they were told about them. Hard to know, really. – SRiverNet - reinstate monica Mar 26 at 14:31
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While I've never seen anything obviously posted in a bank about their policies on accepting coins, I think the wisest course of action when you go into ANY bank you've never dealt with before or don't have an account at would be to ask at the teller window before attempting a transaction.

This is especially the case with cashing checks - many banks charge you a fee to cash a check drawn on one of their accounts if you're not a customer of the bank, so it's best to clarify that before conducting your transaction. That way you know up front and can make an informed decision.

For the record, it isn't unusual for banks to have some kind of fee associated with loose coins (your post doesn't specify so I'm assuming they weren't rolled) because you're taking up a teller's time and bank resources to roll and package them.

As an alternative, just about every big grocery store in America now has those kiosks for exchanging coins for cash. The fees are posted up front (they're not terrible considering they're saving you the time and aggravation of counting and rolling them yourself) and it's pretty quick.

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    At least one vendor in the US gives you the full value of your coins if you choose a gift card instead of cash. If you would already use one of the retailers or services and would use rather than loose track of the gift card, this is a lower-fee option. (Documenting, but not an endorsement: coinstar.com/giftcards) – user4556274 Mar 26 at 12:18
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    A few years back, I took rolled coins into the Credit Union. The teller immediately ripped the rolls apart to dump them all into the coin-sorting machine. I'm not sure rolling coins yourself helps any more. – Dragonel Mar 26 at 15:41
  • That could be, @Dragonel, and I don't doubt what you say. I STILL think it's a prudent move to ASK someone before handing anything over, though. Especially when you aren't a customer of that bank. – SRiverNet - reinstate monica Mar 26 at 15:45
  • @Dragonel That's how it worked at the bank I was a teller at as well. The only rolls we accepted as-is were unbroken rolls as delivered from the fed. Everything else got dumped into the sorting machine. We didn't roll and package coin -- it all went into big plastic bags ($1000 worth of dimes is HEAVY) – Tristan Mar 26 at 16:23
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    Understandable, @Tristan. Otherwise, what prevents someone from coming in with quarter rolls filled with slugs? The point remains too though that people should ask before just diving right into something and then being unhappily surprised when they get charged. – SRiverNet - reinstate monica Mar 26 at 16:27
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If the bank promised to give you the full value of your change, and then intentionally failed to fulfill that promise, then that's fraud, which is a crime.

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It depends, Some coin counting machines do require a fee to count your coins. If you don't want to do that, I would recommend getting a battery powered coin counter from a grocery store and using that if paying a fee isn't your type. As Tanner Swett said, If a bank promises counting your coins free of charge and they don't fulfill their promise, it is fraud and that is a crime, However if you dont have an account with them, they will have a right to charge you because you dont have an account with them plain and simple. I would ask if they will charge you before even handing over your coins.

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  • The OP never stated whether the bank made any particular promise (or the OP even bothered to ask) about a fee for coin-counting, so talking about the bank as not having delivered on a "promise" is purely speculative. – SRiverNet - reinstate monica Mar 26 at 16:54
  • Agreed, but you should always ask a bank if there is a fee, if they say no but give you a fee anyways, then what is that? Fraud? – Joseph Casey Mar 26 at 16:58
  • If they say no but charge you anyway, yes. Other than that I don't know, because it depends on bank policy. If the employee is supposed to tell the customer and doesn't then that's not a crime, just ignorance and laziness. In such cases I'd ask to speak with the manager and share it with them. Criminality is all about intent. If bank policy is to "surprise" people with unannounced fees then that could potentially be construed as criminal and also opens the door to civil liability. – SRiverNet - reinstate monica Mar 26 at 17:16
  • "if you dont have an account with them, they will have a right to charge you because you dont have an account with them plain and simple" -- what reasoning are you using to connect those two things? It sounds like you're saying that if you have an account with a bank they have to count your coins for free, which is of course not true. – Sneftel Mar 26 at 20:10

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