The Coinstar Story

While sitting in his dorm room at Stanford University, grad student Jens Molbak was thinking about the jar of coins on his desk, and how he could simply and easily turn them into cash.

He quickly came to this realization: there was no easy way to deal with all the coins.

But then he had another thought: one which would impact lives around the country. And it was in this moment that the idea for Coinstar was born.

In 1989, with idea in hand, Jens interviewed supermarket shoppers as part of his grad school project. During these conversations he confirmed his suspicion: lots of people have lots of coins just sitting idle at home, not being of much value. But the process of sorting, counting and rolling the coins, and then hauling them all the way to a bank isn’t easy, isn’t convenient— it’s just too darn hard.

Two years later, Jens founded Coinstar with this goal: develop an easy and convenient way for people to turn their coins into cash. Jens, along with two classmates, created a machine that could do the hard work of sorting and counting the coins. The easy part? You simply pour the coins in.

By 1992 their machine was ready for a field test. They installed machines in four San Francisco Bay area supermarkets. Consumers loved the service and convenience. So Jens and company put in motion an ambitious plan to provide easy and convenient coin counting across the country. They were so successful that Coinstar was named one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. that year.

Jens stepped down as Chairman of Coinstar in 2001, but his vision of helping people make the most of their coins has continued.

Coinstar Center® machines are now in nearly 19,000 convenient locations. Services have been expanded from simply coins to cash, to free coin counting when you cash in for eCertificates and cards from brands people love. You can also donate your coins to many different charities. And there’s a free account that provides exclusive offers to members.

Jens idea was a pretty good one. Give consumers a simple, convenient, and trustworthy way to cash in their coins. As we continue to evolve his vision of helping people make the most of their coins, we’re looking forward to making it even easier, more convenient, with more choices and more rewards.

Find your Coinstar Center® machine

A Word About Our Company

Outerwall is champion of a better everyday. As the company behind exciting brands like Redbox, Coinstar and new Rubi® coffee kiosks, we’re on a mission to make life easier for consumers and more profitable for retailers. We understand people—and fueled by the technologies, insight and expertise that have made us a leader in automated retail—we’re building businesses that deliver what consumers want, when and where they need it. Learn more about how Outerwall is creating a better everyday at

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