News & Events

It's What's Inside That Counts


With growing pressure to keep stores front and center in the minds of shoppers – especially in the face of non-traditional competitors – many grocers are looking for ways to differentiate through additional services.

Self-service coin counting machines provide an opportunity to achieve this competitive differentiation. Machines that feature fast and accurate performance and excellent uptime can be used to retain current customers, draw in new ones and increase the frequency of return visits – and purchases.

Cummins Allison, the leading innovator and provider of coin, currency and cheque processing technology, outlines the three common coin processing technologies available in today’s self-service coin machines. Understanding how these technologies work is vital to implementing a successful and profitable self-service coin redemption program.

It’s What’s Inside Your Machine that Counts

When it comes to self-service coin machines, it’s what’s inside that counts – literally. While machines fundamentally serve the same purpose of authenticating, denominating and sorting, the way that coins are processed can vary greatly. Those variations can have an impact on the machines’ accuracy and reliability.

Here’s a closer look at how the technology inside these machines can make your store more or less susceptible to issues such as inaccuracy and machine downtime. For a more detailed overview – and images – of these technologies, click here.

  1. 1). Rail Sorting Technology. The most prevalent technology used in self-service coin machines today. Coins are aligned with the aid of a rotating wheel and sent along a narrow track – or rail – on their circumference via gravity. Each coin then passes a detector where it is counted and sorted according to denomination. Rail sorters typically process coins at speeds between 600-900 coins per minute.
    1. Pros:The simple design makes these machines affordable to own and easy to maintain. Employees can easily clean the machine or clear jams. Authentic coins feed directly into bags or bins, and non-coin debris is deposited into a small trash receptacle inside the machine for easy disposal.

Cons: Coins in rail sorting equipment are especially susceptible to bouncing, potentially leading to mis-sorts, miscounts, or falling from the rail and causing a jam. Coins need to be manually fed into the machine in small batches, increasing the amount of time needed to process a transaction.

  2. 2). Figure-8 Technology. Uses two overlapping disks rotating in opposite directions, taking the coins on a figure-8-like path. The smallest coins are sorted first and are eventually deposited into bags or bins.

Pros: Figure-8 machines are capable of processing up to 2,500 coins per minute, and coins are automatically fed into the machine for a more user-friendly experience. Unwanted items are automatically removed from the machine after the coin batch has finished.

Cons: Two moving parts inside mean an increased potential for machine downtime as a result of one of more of the parts failing. Space available for coin bags is limited, requiring more frequent intervention by personnel. Additionally, the required floor space for bag units is considerable, requiring an extra three feet per side for bag changing clearance.


  1. 3). Single Rotating Disk Technology. Machines utilizing this technology consist of a single moving part rotating at a high speed. Authentic coins are deposited into collection bins or bags, and foreign coins are rejected and returned to the customer.

Pros: The fastest coin sorting speed, capable of processing up to 4,100 coins per minute. Coins are less susceptible to being impeded by foreign objects and debris. Non-coin items larger than coins cannot enter the passageways, thereby minimizing machine stoppage – and these items are automatically removed from the machine once the coins have been counted. Parity checks at multiple points inside the machine enable accurate, consistent count totals.

Cons: The pad surface should be periodically inspected for tears or damage, and may eventually need replacement as part of a routine maintenance plan.


Putting Technology to Work for Your Store

Self-service coin machines can provide solid returns and compliment high-quality customer service initiatives for many grocers. But success is highly dependent upon the technology inside the machines you select. Take the time to look inside the machine and understand the technology you’re evaluating, as it can have a direct impact on your operations – beyond the initial cost of the machine.

To learn more about how self-service coin redemption can set your store apart from the competition and provide a value-added service to customers, visit:


About Cummins Allison

Cummins Allison is the leading innovator and provider of cheque, currency and coin handling solutions. Our world-class sales and service network includes hundreds of local representatives in more than 50 offices in North America, 6 wholly-owned subsidiaries and is represented in more than 70 countries around the world. For more information about our award-winning solutions, visit


Carol Moore – Vice President Marketing

Cummins Allison Corp.

Tel: 847-759-6403