Southern Spain: No Bank Account = No Coin Exchange

In short, there are no Coinstar machines in Andalucia, and banks would deposit coins to a bank account only(and you have to have an account with this bank).

After 3 months in Andalucia, we accumulated a full ziplock bag of coins. A fair number of 2€ and 1€ coins and a sea of 50c, 10c, 5c, 2c, 1c coins are heavy. Hauling them to our next destination was out of the question, so, naturally, I decided to exchange them. Apparently, this simple solution does not work in Andalucia. Coinstar, provider of coin cashing machines, hasn’t ventured that far south yet (anecdotally, it does exist in Barcelona) and cashiers at stores do not want to deal with a mountain of coins. Unfortunately, me and my coins were not welcomed at banks either. After visiting 5 of them, I learned that:

  • there are no coin counting machines in banks (at least that’s what I was told when I personally visited banks). A bank teller would have to manually sort coins and put them into coin holders (not sure what is the correct name of these tubes where coins are kept). They were not eager to do it, so they gave me the holders and asked to do it myself
  • a bank agrees to deposit coins into bank account, but would not exchange for cash. Hence, no bank account = no coin exchange
  • the clerk at the last bank I visited fairly unconvincingly said that after I put all coins into these tubes/coin holders I can come back and they will exchange coins with euro banknotes, but with a fee. Since all banks were closing at 14:00, I was there at 13:40 and we were leaving the next morning, I did not pursue this offer.

On the bright side, local street musicians benefited from this strange debacle.

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