Although you regularly use coin-operated machines, you often only carry no more than a handful of quarters at a time. After all, you can always have your bills exchanged.
Unfortunately, with the nationwide coin shortage, you won’t find it as easy to exchange bills for cash these days. Statistics show that 70.4% of annual POS payments consist of card and mobile transactions, so most cashiers can’t keep multiple rolls of quarters at the till anymore.
If you find yourself in a bind because you need quarters fast, don’t worry. Our team scoured the web for first-hand insights into the quickest, most effective ways to get change for dollar bills.
You might not need quarters right this moment. However, knowing where to exchange bills will prove helpful when using the laundromat, paying parking meters, or buying from vending machines.
Stick with us until the end. Otherwise, you might drive down to different stores and banks to get a few quarters at the last minute.
Let’s look into the establishments that give out quarters!
Best Places to Get Quarters
Some of the most widely known and trusted establishments where you can get rolls of quarters for dollar bills include:
The most surefire way to exchange bills for quarters is to drive down to your local bank. Ideally, go to one where you’re an account holder.
Although commercial banks typically don’t limit their clients to just a handful of quarters, you can’t expect banks to have thousands of dollars worth of coins at hand. However, you shouldn’t encounter issues getting up to 10 rolls of quarters.
But keep in mind that this process will take at least 30 to 60 minutes. You can’t turn to commercial banks if you’re rushing to exchange your $5 or $10 for coins.
Ideally, you should schedule your trips to the bank. For instance, you can visit your nearby bank every Monday to get $50 worth of quarters for your week’s laundry and parking meter fees.
2. Grocery Stores
The next time you do your groceries, ask the cashier to give you your change in coins. Big-box stores carrying a lot of quarters might not have an issue with this, but smaller retailers might limit you to just $2 to $3 worth of quarters.
To make your trip worthwhile, aim to get enough quarters for the entire week. Let’s say you do your groceries on Sundays.
Map out your entire week ahead, and assess which activities will require you to pay in quarters. Then, repeat the process the next time you go grocery shopping.
3. Convenience Stores
Convenience stores don’t carry much change at the till anymore. However, you can still rely on them to secure a few quarters quickly for free.
To avoid wasting time, focus on widely known 24-hour convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Casey’s, or Speedways in high-traffic locations. Smaller shops may be less willing to exchange their coins.
Also, try buying something from the store first. For instance, if you were already on your way to buy bottled water, get one at your local convenience store, then ask for your change in quarters.
4. Fast-Food Establishments
How often do you eat at fast-food restaurants? Instead of automatically paying with your mobile wallet, try paying in cash at least once or twice a week. That way, you can ask for your change in coins.
This tip best suits consumers securing a few rolls of coins for the week. However, if you need quarters right away, you can only ask the cashier for them after you’ve purchased something.
Opt for super-cheap food items under a dollar.For example, get a sundae cone or refreshment, hand over $5, then collect your quarters.
5. Gas Stations
Gas stations carry a lot of quarters, plus they’re everywhere. So if you need a bunch of quarters immediately, look for any station with a small convenience store, buy a small pack of gum, then ask for your change in coins.
If you’re short on cash, you can nicely ask the cashier to exchange your bills for quarters for free. But limit your change to just $1 or $2.
Alternatively, you can also ask for quarters by filling up denominations less than a dollar. For instance, fill up $19.25, then collect your change.
Some widely known pharmacies carry a bunch of pennies from customers buying pills and vitamins per piece. But don’t expect to get more than a couple of dollars of pennies.
This tip works best if you’re rushing to get quarters and stumble upon a pharmacy. If you don’t feel comfortable asking the cashier to exchange your bills, you can try buying something cheap like a bottle of water.
7. Car Washes
DIY car washes typically end up collecting a lot of quarters throughout the day. These come from motorists using their car wash station, vacuum cleaners, and vending machines.
Widely known establishments likely carry several dollars worth of quarters. However, don’t expect them to roll the coins neatly, especially since these will come from DIY slots and machines.
Also, don’t go to the same location more than once a week. Most car washes only empty their change machine every two to three days, so they might not have any left if you visit every day.
Many laundromats have a quarters machine on site. You can exchange your bills for quarters free of charge, as long as the machine has enough coins in it.
Ideally, laundromat owners only want customers using these in the same stores. However, you can get away with sneaking $2 to $3 worth of quarters—as long as you don’t abuse the change machine, of course.
9. Street Actors
Do you regularly pass by street actors? These performers typically accumulate bundles of quarters throughout the day, and they’ll need to exchange these for bills as well.
You can try striking a deal with them. Since they’ll need to exchange their coins either way, offer to buy whatever amount they have at hand.
Note: Don’t feel shy to approach street actors with this deal. Most coin cash-in establishments charge fees to exchange coins for bills, so they’ll also benefit from letting you take care of their extra coins.
If the arcades in your neighborhood still run, you can turn to them to exchange bills for coins quickly. Most arcade machines take quarters and dollar denominations, so any widely known gaming establishment could spare up to one or two rounds of quarters at the end of a workday.
You might not even need to buy anything if you ask nicely. However, play at least one $0.25 game now and then so that the arcade’s staff don’t get in trouble for attending to non-customers.
11. Friends and Relatives
In a pinch, you can ask your friends and relatives to exchange your bills for some quarters. Not everyone carries rolls of quarters, but you can at least squeeze out $2 to $3 worth of change during tight situations.
Why Is There a Coin Shortage?
There’s a coin shortage in the U.S. because consumers have started relying on non-cash payment instruments like mobile wallets, credit/debit cards, and even cryptocurrencies. Also, most POS transactions in the U.S. consisted of card and mobile wallet payments.
Although the mass adoption of mobile payment systems yields several advantages, hoarding unused coins significantly hurts the economy. The government has been encouraging consumers to pump back their unused quarters into circulation.
Can You Buy Rolls of Quarters Online?
You’ll find a few listings on eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace selling quarters. However, we generally advise against them.
Apart from the fact that sellers place steep markups, you’ll also risk acquiring counterfeit fiat money.
Can You Get Quarters From an ATM
ATMs only give out dollar bills. You can only get rolls of quarters over the counter during business banking hours.
Keeping Quarters at Hand
Considering the nationwide coin shortage, we can’t advise keeping hundreds of dollars worth of coins—unless you’ll spend them all in a few days.
The U.S. economy severely needs coins. Hoarding quarters for your convenience will only make the situation worse moving forward.
We suggest exchanging no more than a week’s worth of quarters. Plan your trips to the laundromat, arcade, car wash, or any locations where you might need coins so that you’ll always have enough at hand.
Also, don’t just carry your change in your pockets. Place your coins in a small coin purse, then stash it inside an accessible spot like your car’s glove box or your bag.