Consumer Payment Card News

Waste Not, Want Not

Are you one of the 75% of Americans who will stop to pick up a penny on the street? Are you among the 73% of Americans who save their loose change? The more than 39% who had not cashed in their change for at least one year, or the 25% who had not cashed in coins in the last three years?
The Coinstar National Currency Poll – A Periodic Look at Americans and their Money, recently polled over 1,000 adults. The survey was commissioned by Coinstar, Inc., which develops, owns and operates a network of self-service, coin-counting machines in supermarkets around the country, and revealed some very interesting statistics about American coin habits. It was found that age, ego and superstition all influence the way we feel about pocket change.

The Age Factor: When asked about finding a penny on the sidewalk, 90% of respondents over 65 said they would stop to pick it up, while only 67% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 said they would do the same. Two-thirds of people over 65 had never in their lives seen a coin on the street or sidewalk without bending down to pick it up. Even on a rainy day, only 25% of people over the age of 65 would pass by a penny. In comparison, 50% of those between 18 and 34 would walk right by. Only 11% of Americans over 65 had thrown away a penny at least once. Among those between 18 and 34, 47% have thrown away a penny rather than save or spend it.

The Superstition Factor: One out of ten people (12%) surveyed said that they would not pick up a coin because it was heads-down – too unlucky! People in the Northeast were the most superstitious, with 18% saying they would not pick up a heads-down coin.

The Ego Factor: Another consideration appears to be self-image. In the Northeast, 7% of respondents said they would not pick up any coin on the street because they would be embarrassed to be seen doing so. In the West, 5% lived up to their laid-back image, saying they did not pick up coins on the street because they were too lazy.

Other reasons for not picking up a coin included: It was dirty, The sidewalk was too crowded. The weather was bad, and Someone else needs it.

As a result of the poll, Coinstar was encouraged to see that people still value the penny, and feel that change is real money. They found that the typical American adult touches about $600 in change annually, and had cashed in coins they had accumulated in amounts up to approximately $60.

Here are a few more interesting facts revealed by the National Currency Poll:

–Nearly three-quarters of Americans save their change;

–13% of Americans store their coins in a piggy bank;

–Age influences the amount of change saved, with baby boomers leading all generational groups in stockpiling change;

–63% of consumers have cashed in their spare change at one time or another.

Coinstar has more than 4,800 self-service coin-counting machines in supermarkets in 37 states, and is one of Americas leading experts on coin saving and spending habits. Consumers can call 800-928-CASH, or visit for the location of the nearest Coinstar machine, or to find out more about the currency poll.

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