Coinstar Kiosks Transmogrifying Into PayPal ATMs

(Image: PayPal-Coinstar)
(Image: PayPal-Coinstar)

Bellevue-based Coinstar has announced some of their coin-counting kiosks are being upgraded to “conveniently and securely add coins and paper currency into or withdraw funds from [a] PayPal account, as well as send money to another PayPal account.”

If you use a Coinstar kiosk as a PayPal ATM, it prints out a voucher you can redeem in-store for cash. Like so many other ATMs, though, there are rules and fees: “Withdrawals are limited to $500 in a calendar month and $200 per day; each withdrawal incurs a $3 fee.”

PayPal will accept up to $500 in counted coins and paper money per month, minus Coinstar’s usual 9.8-percent fee for counting coins or a $3 charge for paper bills up to $300, $6 for more than $300. Funds can be deposited directly into a customer’s PayPal account, and even sent right then as payment to another PayPal account. (There’s no day-delay as when you transfer money from your bank to PayPal or vice versa.)

PayPal and Coinstar had mentioned last May that they were testing the service (PayPal has also infiltrated your Xbox and Home Depot), and the results were encouraging: 40 percent of the people who tried the PayPal feature returned to use it at least two times a month. Early kiosks have already been rolled out in Texas, Northern California, and Ohio; the process continues throughout all Coinstar regions.

Use this Coinstar/PayPal ATM locator — there’s a sign-up to be alerted when they come to your neighborhood. Seattle does not seem to have any yet, but then neither does putative home-base Bellevue.

If you haven’t poked around with a Coinstar machine lately, they maintain a substantial list of e-certificate partners who’ll pay that 9.8 percent fee for you, by the way. Besides any number of grocery chains, there’s Amazon, Starbucks, Lowe’s, iTunes, Banana Republic, The Gap, Old Navy, and Sears.

Two years ago, I recommended Coinstar (CSTR) as an investment because while their business was stable, and their ownership of Redbox was likely to see growth, the stock price had dipped to around $38. Today it’s at $51.50, with revenues likely to increase as PayPal customers discover Coinstar convenience. In 2011, Coinstar’s objective was simply to find a way to bring people back to their kiosks more than every six months when the penny jar was full. If the numbers from their early adopters in Dallas hold true — drawing twice-monthly visits — Coinstar’s revenue is about to get a boost.