Counting Australian Coins for the bank.

You empty your wallet’s excess loose change into a container, every day or two. After collecting so much loose change over the last few months or even years the container is full and you want to turn those coins into notes, or worse you need to count it so you can pay a debt.

Due to anti-money laundering laws, in Australia you can no longer go directly into any bank with jars of random coins and expect them to give you the money in notes. You have to go to your local bank (one which you have an actual account with), so they can directly deposit it into your account. Also, if the coins aren’t in properly sorted into nice money bags, then they are likely to charge you a fee for counting/sorting the coins.

Bags of coins
Bags of coins

What you need.

  • Lots of plastic money coin banking bags.
  • Your pile of loose change.
  • (optional) Kitchen scales (or something that shows weights to an accuracy of 1g).
  • A large enough table.
  • Time.

There are a couple of ways of counting and sorting the coins. You can sort them into stacked piles, heaped piles, or directly into the plastic bags. You can also count the number of coins, the value of the coins you have, or simply weigh them.

Weighing the piles of coins
Weighing the piles of coins

I personally like to stack the coins, then weigh and finally bag them and will now explain my process.

What to do

  1. Make sure your table or work area is clear.
  2. Empty the container of money onto the table. If it’s a REALLY big container then you may have to do it in batches.
  3. Sort out the different coins into stacked piles. I personally start by picking up 90% of the 50c pieces. Putting them into my hand to make a stack and putting them into a group. Then as I’m picking out about 90% of the 20c pieces I am likely to come across some more 50c pieces that I previously missed, I’ll usually pick these out, and put them onto a heaped pile, near the stack of other 50c pieces. Repeat the process for the other coins ($2 and $1’s), then you should only be left with the 10 and 5c coins. Instead of picking up each of the coins, I usually find it’s faster to simply slide them into the different heaps, then pull some of the coins off the table and into your other hand, which should now be half full, so you can make them into stacks.
  4. Don’t forget to remove any foreign currency coins into their own pile, out of the way.
  5. You should currently have bunches of sorted and stacked the coins, you will now need to weigh them.
  6. Using the reference table below, put the required weight of coins (looking at the weight/bag column) onto the kitchen scales. It’s usually ok if you are out by a gram or two. Put those coins into a money bag, and if you are pedantic, or dropped some coins, re-weigh the bag (it’s likely to be around a gram heavier).
  7. Repeat step 6 with all the coins of each denomination (type). If you have left over coins which don’t add up to the required weight then you won’t be able to bank them. Put them back into your original container for the next time you count your coins.
  8. You should now have a bunch of plastic coin bags… FILLED WITH COINS! I usually count up how much money I’ve got.
  9. Take the money to the bank. As you are probably carrying multiple kilograms worth of change, you’ll want to make sure that whatever container you try using can actually carry the weight of all the bags. Also, try not to get robbed.
  10. The bank will basically do what you just did, except with a slightly more advanced set of scales, which can actually detect when you haven’t put the correct number of coins, or even if you counted some foreign coin as a local one (in which case it’ll error). I usually carry an extra coin or two of each type at this point so that if I did miss a coin I can add it to the bag and get the full amount, especially as some banks might not accept incomplete bags.
  11. The bank will deposit the money into your account. At this point I usually head to the nearest ATM and pull the money out in notes, unless I actually want it in the account.

—–

Reference Table

This table details the coin denomination, the average weight of each coin, how much each bag should be worth, how many coins per bag, and the approximate total weight of the coins per bag.

– Coin bagging reference –
Type Weight/coin $/bag Coins/bag Weight/bag
5c 2.8g $2 40 112g
10c 5.6g $10 100 560g
20c 11.2g $10 50 560g
50c 15.5g $10 20 310g
$1 8.9g $20 20 178g
$2 6.5g $50 25 162.5g

—–

Glossary

Stacked pile – A pile of coins where the coins are on top of each other.

Heaped pile – A bunch of coins where they are spread out over an area, usually only a couple of layers thick.

Money bag/coin money bag – A plastic bag with small holes in it that utilises a ziplock seal and is designed for holding coins of the correct amount for when you deposit them at the bank. Usually the bank can provide you with these.

Heaps vs Stacks
Heaps vs Stacks

Tips and Tricks.

Don’t have any coin bags? Ask they bank! They’ll almost always be happy to give you the coin money bags because they know they are likely to get them back, but mainly because of how annoying it is as a teller to have to rip your non-standard bags, and put all the coins into a counting machine, or worse, have to sort and count the money themselves because you completely stuffed it all up. This is when they are likely to charge you.

Want to count the coins? A great way of speeding this up is to create a stack of 10 coins, you then make the stack next to it the same height using the same coin denomination, and there you go, you’ve now got 20 coins, and only had to count ten! This also works the other way around. When you want to check your counting, if you have two stacks you think are the same number of coins, if you put them right next to each other and they don’t line up, you’d better recount them.

I determined the average weight of each coin by weighing 20 of them, and dividing the total weight by 20. I could tell when the coins I had were a bit heavy because the outcome wouldn’t be a nice number. I tried another set of 20 coins and it’d usually be only a gram heavier or lighter, but the average weight per coin would make more sense. You could also just use wikipedia.

Holding a stack of coins in my hand
Holding a stack of coins in my hand

My money collection

I had about 6.2kgs worth of loose change. 799 coins in total which were worth $362.35, although I could only bank $320. Nearly 2.2kgs of it was in $39.20 worth of 20c coins. There was also about 177grams worth of foreign currency (I’m not sure why there was so much, I think I’d actually collected some and accidentally put them into the change jar).

My bags of coin collection ($320 worth)
My bags of coin collection ($320 worth)

March 2009. Created by Michael Kubler, mainly for my own personal reference so I don’t have to work all the weights and numbers out again next time.

Published by

Michael Kubler

Photographer, cinematographer, web master/coder.

24 thoughts on “Counting Australian Coins for the bank.”

  1. There is something badly nerdy about this post. I am not sure if it’s the counting of money, the fact you’ve kept so much shrapnel you could buy a new TV with it all, or the fact that you figured out a good way of taking it to the bank….. man, do you have too much spare time?
    LOL
    Anyway, a cool read!!!

  2. Thanks for this, the weight per bag is great for this. (By the way, can you chuck a couple of cheeky NZ 20Cs into these bags, will they notice?)

  3. Thanks for the nerdy but informative post. The coin bagging reference is very helpful, where did you find that information out?

    As a fellow web developer, I will let you know that I was searching for Australian coin bags and found your site.

  4. Thanks Jason.
    I worked the information out myself by simply weighing 10 coins and dividing the total by 10. You can do it twice to be sure if you want to be sure. Although I doubt my table is much different to what the bank machines use.

    It’s good to know people are finding my website. I don’t update it as often as I should, but at least the content on here is usually useful, for those that want it :D

  5. It may be a nerdy site — I am not sure of the precise definition of “nerdy” — but it was exactly what I was looking for. Getting the bags was one great tip; stacking the coins in counts of ten was another. Has anyone noticed how filthy your hands get when you are dealing with largish amounts of coins?

  6. Yeah, there’s a LOT of dirt you pickup in the coins. Try not to think about how many other people have touched the coins, maybe after they’ve just blow their nose or gone to the toilet, haha!

    Glad you liked the post :)

  7. hi, this is pretty useful as i have a load of change i need to deposit. as it’s quite hard to get 100 10c pieces for a single bag… can i get away with putting 2 in a 20c bag? (the weights of 5c-20c are proportional as the sizes haven’t changed since decimalisation and debasement)

  8. Hi John,
    I suspect banks would not like you that much if you did that. But I’ve seen coin counting machines in more and more banks which would likely deal with it. I guess it depends on what you are doing with the coins.

  9. Hi, this is an old article, but which bank did you use that takes 5c in bags of $2? All banks appear to use a standard bag which takes $5 of 5c, at least that is what I was given when I went to ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB.

    However, you don’t need to fill a bag full anyway. Some branches of NAB just empty your bag into a drawer after weighing… ANZ was happy to take $4.90 of 5c (they added 2 of their own into my bag after accepting it..)

    Any idea whether New Zealand uses the same bags and amounts? I have found myself with about $300 of NZ coins, fortunately not the old ones which are the same sizes as Aussie otherwise it would be a very heavy bag to carry onto the plane!

  10. Thanks for this useful information, Michael. Using a set of kitchen scales made counting my coins easy.

  11. has anyone calculated the value per kilo for coins to calculate their value by weight using a commercial scale

  12. Not sure, but I’ve heard that American nickels are actually worth more in their weight in nickel (and whatever else they are probably made of), so even if the American dollar crashes the nickel as a material commodity is likely to still be worth it’s value, if not more.
    That was from the book Money : Master the game by Tony Robbins, so take it with a pinch of salt.

  13. Save time and use one of the Coin Counting machines, found now in many Banks, but note that you must take the receipt to a teller to deposit into your account, so no outsiders can use the facility. These machines definitely reject foreign coins – including New Zealand coins. You may get them through if you go to a bank which counts them manually but most Banks use a coin counter/ weigher, so they detect even the slightest difference in weight.
    The weight of each denomination is well known in the industry and can be found on many websites, including that of The Australian Mint.
    James, both $2 and $5 coin bags are still available, though some banks have a preference for one or the other. But note that, if you are “purchasing” change, that some banks also use $4 lots in their bags or wrapped packs.
    Simplest solution — use the coin counting machines!!!

  14. Thanks Elizabeth.
    I agree. Since my bank has installed a coin counting machine it’s been so much easier to deal with the loose change. I just bring in a bag of coins and use the machine myself. This one directly deposits the money into my account, I don’t even need to go to a teller!

  15. Over time, coins wear down ,reducing their weight .. It’s not a great amount but ,it would reduce the value per weight ratio . I have counted coin by coin , and the banks counter machine came up with $4 less ,for $400 .

  16. Hahaha… talking about coin delivery and banks [yes I found your site easily because I wanted to know how much the banks sorted denominations into bags — excellent], OK so I rocked up to a local bank to put cash into my account and the queue was fairly long so I was in for a wait. Along comes this guy with a huge metal trolley loaded with coin bags to deposit — a shitload. So as I am standing there, the floating tellers are jumping around nervously it seemed trying to work out how to direct this humongous trolley load. The guy was still in the queue with people gawking at the trolley — honestly I can’t imagine what sort of business extracted the haul. After a few chats from a teller who does a preliminary count of his cash bags there is a conversation that kinda shocked me — he was being taken on his word how much was there [nearly 1 million in coins as it turns out — but he insists there is x amount and she is counting less. The teller then took him out of the queue and goes to her side of the counter to process — the discrepancy conversations goes on and then the guy says, well maybe I left a bag in my car, there is so much stuff in there lols. He finally leaves the trolley with the teller but I got the distinct feeling that due to the size of the transaction, he was able to negotiate how much money he could put into his account and it appeared to be working!!!!!! (:

  17. Thanks so much for taking the time to compile this information on counting coins for the bank. So handy especially after hours. I have a heap of coins to count tonight and forgot to get bank bags for the job. Ran down the supermarket and got plastic zip locks nearly the same size as bank bags and couldn’t remember the denomination info on the bank bags. This helped so much now all I have to do is sit at the bank transferring coins from one bag to the other. Too easy so thank you.

  18. I have a can container which filled with 2$ coins only. It weighs 6.2 kg now.
    I don’t want to open it but I wanna know the estimate of money I got in there. Is there a way to calculate it?

  19. I just take my coins to the bank and tip into the coin counting machine and it get deposited into my account no fuss no counting

  20. @James and Elizabeth from 4 years ago:

    New Zealand bags are $100 for dollars, and $10 for cents. A bit weird as a bag of 50c has only a handful of coins, which you can easily spend rather than going to the bank, while everyone would get annoyed if you tried to spend a full bag of any other denomination.

    The people talking about NZ coins in Australia are referring to the old style, from before 2006. The 1,2,5,10 and 20c were, by design, exactly the same as the Australian ones.

    Also by design, British sixpences (phased out in 1971), shillings/old style 5p and florins/old style 10p (phased out in 1992) are exactly the same size as the Australian 5,10 and 20c. As well as Irish shillings/old style 5p and florins/old style 10p (phased out in 1992 and now replaced by the euro).

    These coins will work in any Australian bank coin counting machine or even Coles/Woolies. Besides it obviously being illegal, these coins are so heavy for their value that it wouldn’t be worth your while trying to bring them to Australia even though you can buy them for cheap all over Europe. But there is another country’s coin that unintentionally works as an Australian coin, and would actually make you a decent criminal profit if you were so inclined. I won’t say what it is here.

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