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TD Bank’s Penny Arcade

[UPDATE: I’m getting a lot of visitors from TD Bank’s Intranet. If you are a TD Bank / Commerce Bank employee, please leave a comment on this post with your thoughts!]

I save my spare change in a ceramic vase that was given to me by my childhood babysitter. It isn’t cute like a piggy bank, but every time I drop in some coins I feel a sense of encouragement when I think of her.

Whenever the vase gets filled to the top, I bring it to my bank to exchange the coins for paper. It’s a double reward: I get to deposit all the money I saved (woo!), and their Penny Arcade coin-counting machine is so much fun to use (double woo!).

The Penny Arcade originated at Commerce Bank, known throughout NYC and surrounding areas for its unrivaled customer service (let’s call them the Zappos of banks). Just a few examples of how awesome they are: they refund your ATM fees from other banks; deposits clear on the next business day (even from other banks); and they’re open late and 7 days a week.

TD Bank bought out Commerce Bank last year, and by the Fall the name and branding had been replaced in all of its locations. As a customer for several years, I was unsettled by the change and afraid that Commerce’s zest and perks would soon disappear. So far the service has remained top-notch, and the Penny Arcade is still in its place and still totally free (to customers and non-customers alike).

When I brought in my change the other day, I decided to document the process to share with all of you. It really epitomizes what great customer experience is all about — not just making things easy, but also pleasurable. See for yourself.

The Penny Arcade

There’s a touchscreen straight ahead, shelf to pour in coins, and a “KIDS Counter” on the right so the little ones to join in on the fun.

Step 1

You’re walked through the process by a cartoon kid, which is an automatic cue that this is going to be fun (and it doesn’t hurt that she looks like me).

Step 2

You’re shown how to dump the coins into the machine and gently reminded to inspect them.

Step 3

Instead of making you just stand there and wait while your change is being counted, you can choose to play a game and guess how much it’s going to add up to.

Step 4

I made a guess based on my previous trips to the Penny Arcade.

Step 5

Then I shuffled all the coins into the machine, mimicking the hand motion I’d seen a few screens earlier.

Step 6

As the coins are falling into the machine, there’s lots of clinking noise — almost a spectacle, like winning at the slots.

Step 7

When all the coins have been counted, you’re prompted to move on.

Step 8

Arrrgh! I missed the screen where it actually displays my total amount. But trust me, it’s there. I just didn’t snap fast enough.

Step 9

Bummer. My guess wasn’t even close so I didn’t win.

Step 10

By this point you’re really itching for the next time you can come back to the Penny Arcade.

Receipt

Best of all is the receipt that’s printed showing me all of the money I saved. $25 more than I had estimated!

So what are you waiting for?! Find a TD Bank branch near you and bring in your spare change. You’ll be surprised just how much fun banking can be.

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Comments

  1. I do still love the Penny Arcade, but I'm wary of the TD Bank takeover. At my branch in Harlem, they replaced 3 of the 4 ATMs with Withdrawl-only machines, and the one ATM that takes deposits is always broken. So frustrating! Anyway, congrats on your $100!

    • Yep, same at the Tribeca and 14th St/6th Ave branches. The ATMs for deposit
      aren't clearly marked. But so far, I haven't experienced any problems with
      the machines. I'll report back if I do.

  2. nonlinear says:

    ha, i just used penny arcade yesterday, and decided to photograph the experience: http://blog.nonlinear.cc/post/my-bear-bank/

  3. mattejames says:

    I gotta ask. What's the prize you win if you get it right?

  4. Will Schneider says:

    I won once! I don't want to ruin it for everyone, but I will say that the “prize” wasn't a big deal. I kept it around for a few weeks to be a testament to my excellent guessing skills, but then finally admitted to myself it was dumb and threw it away. Side note… I still guess each time before I use the machine.

  5. I currently work for TDBanknorth and I can assure everyone who is weary of the “take over” that although the name is changing, the faces and service isn't. We strive to make every customer feel great about choosing to bank with us and if you ever have a problem or concern…just tell us and we'll do what we can to make it better for you. And even better…with a SMILE! We do apprecieate the business that we have and trust me when I tell you….good things are coming!!

  6. Is it cheating if I count by hand and THEN go in? O:) I have a few 'C' for Commerce piggy banks :)

  7. Thanks for commenting, Olivia. And thanks for blogging about this, Whitney.

    I love the Penny Arcade, and had just used it the same day Whitney wrote this post — both of which made me smile. Great user experience and even better customer service at TD/Commerce. Amazing how one of the first bits of advice I got from the locals when I moved here four years ago was “YOU HAVE TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT AT COMMERCE.”

    The online experience used to be quite bad, but it has improved considerably in recent years. Very happy with the TD Bank transition. Same faces, same smiles every time.

  8. jaydizzle says:

    I, too, work for TD Banknorth and can tell you that we are going through as many changes as the former Commerce Branches. When we are done, it will truly be the best of both worlds!

  9. crystal1982 says:

    I work for TD Banknorth also, and it's a great company to work for, and we strive to make our customer's happy!

  10. i have a friend here who has been never won…..LOL

  11. I work for TD Bank as well and a large majority of us consider negative customer impact unacceptable. Although it does happen, we hope to review the situation and learn from any and all situations! I hope that our customers stick with us through these rough times. The cream of the crop will rise again in this company so hang in everyone!

  12. I'm a little apprehensive in trying these as i've heard people getting cheated of 20 to 50 dollars of coins(counted before insertion) … have u ever tried counting before putting it in?

    • I've heard of other coin-counting machines not being accurate, but TD Bank's Penny Arcade has never miscounted.

      • I can assure you it miscounts. Last week for example, I counted $50 in quarters alone, $10 in dollar coins and then proceeded to add an entire jar if nickles and dimes, then added about another $50 in quarters from a seperate jar and from my purse and car. I topped off my whole jar with about a buck worth of pennies just to get rid of em, and went to td bank to get my money. I was appalled when it said I only put in $14.73, and almost had a heart attack when my receipt said I had only put in 2 quarters, and 7 dollars worth of pennies! I had at least $150, TD told me it happens often and most likely 600 of the 700 pennies it counted were quarters,nickles, dimes etc. and they would call me after it was shipped if there was an overage, this was supposed to be 3 days ago, they still haven’t called, they are scam artists.

        • I’m shocked that you say TD penny arcade never miss counts, you really have to ask more people that go there the previous comment really says it all. I mentioned I know of 7 people personally that the machines have total wrong… I do in fact believe it is only a machine, but come on Amanda get real :>)

          • Sorry Amanda, I thought you were the one who’s blog we’re on.. That person’s name is Whitney… So sorry

            Lorraine

        • Just a little advice, when using penny you should also hit “more” when it asks if you have anymore coin to add because the bottom, meaning the coin divider times out before the top so you may still have coin ready to be counted. If you dont the next person is going to have a nice surprise. I tell all my customers that use it to make sure they do that and to slam down the metal top to make sure no coins were stuck on top. Seems a little crazy but hey its your money!

    • I have counted my change often because I know people who have counted their change and the amount the machine comes up is never the amount they counted… Just today 8/7/10 my daughter sat and counted only .25 and she came up with $150.00… She put the guess figure amount @ $150.00 and the machine said she only had $147.85. She went to the teller to deposit the money and was told they check the machine 3 times a day, and would notify her if the machine was off. She was told that afterall it is a machine. I know of @ least 7 people who have counted the money, and it NEVER comes up with the amount they counted. One friend was shorted over $18.00 dollars. I might be neurtioc but I think it’s another way for the bank to make a little extra money. At least @ coin star they tell you up front they are charging you a fee. I like Commerce/Td bank for my banking but not really comfortable about the arcade…

  13. Do you get cash back? Or do you have to take that receipt to a window and get money? Does one have to have an account open? Or can anyone go in, use the machine and get cash back?

  14. I actually went to a penny arcade back when it was commerce… I had actually went to the trouble of rolling a large portion of the coins I was putting in, but had a bunch of extras to add so I just put it all in. I knew within about $10 how much I was putting in and the machine came up and missed about $60 in quarters (which were the rolled portion.) He took a look at the receipt and the logs in the machine and within about 10 minutes to investigate properly he gave me the difference. Mine was a good experience because I had the coin rolls to sort-of prove it… that is not to say that the machine didn't screw up and lose $60 of my money though. If you have the time to roll it… you are much better off… but I would use penny arcade again in a pinch without hesitation

  15. Thanks for this great guide, my wife and kids have an entire draw completely full of coins which they have been collecting for several years now. I’ve always hated taking bags of coins to a bank counter so this seems like a perfect solution. I’m sure my Trianz accountant will be surprised when he sees my account gain a random $100 out of nowhere.

  16. jimbo3434554 says:

    DO I NEED TO HAVE A TD BANK OR COMMERCE ACCOUNT TO USE THE MACHINE??

    I HAVE CITIBANK.

  17. That's the great article! I just pass 'n read it, two thumbs up! ;)

  18. Shqiptare says:

    Does this Penny Arcade give you cash ? or does it just count them ?pleaase let me know A.S.A.P

  19. paul123collins says:

    I do still love the Penny Arcade, but I'm wary of the TD Bank takeover. Anyway this does seem like an interesting, seems like a perfect solution.

    Paul J Collins
    Market Health
    sunless tanning lotion

  20. nickledimed says:

    I was a customer of TD Bank and I experienced a “Penny Arcade”. I would deposit money in my account and then TD Bank started “nickle and diming me” with fees. First they increased my minimmum balance requirement which led to a $15 service charge to me for having one day with less than $100 in my account. To try to solve my new monthly inconvenience I transferred money from another account, it cleared the other account at the other bank yet TD Bank held it in Pending status which led to an additional $140 in fees (35 times 4). I cut my losses & now I enjoy an Interest Bearing, Free checking that even has overdraft protection in case I ever need it at another bank. I have never been charged fees before like I experienced at TD Bank & I never will again.

  21. Awesome. Thank you for posting this. Just what I wanted to know!

  22. nickledimed says:

    You're welcome, I wish you all the best in your banking endeavors.

  23. The credit union (Navy Federal Credit Union) that I have been a member of since 1977 also offers no-fee coin counting machine service at many of their larger branch locations around the world. This service is so much more convenient than manually counting and wrapping coins, especially lower value coins like pennies, nickels and dimes. I wonder what impact this will have on the production of coins by the US Mint, now that more loose change is back in circulation, rather than in tens of millions of individual home and workplace stashes around the country?

  24. TDBANKSSUCKS says:

    Penny Arcade SUCKS!! I have been using the Penny Arcade for a while and I love it so much!! Since i am a curious person, i decided to count my total before dropping in the penny Arcades to see how actual this machine is…Guess What??! my total was totally different, they ripped me off!!

  25. Do you have to be a customer of the bank to use the Penny Arcade?

    • Nope! I think I might have mentioned that in the post, can't remember. There's no fee and you DON'T have to be a TD Bank customer.

  26. Coin Collector says:

    I just got back from using TD's coin counting machine. I had 53.42 in change, and it counted 48.26. Lost 5.16. I know some of the coins were a little damaged, but non of them came out in the bottom reject tray. Does TD charge a % now? Or did some coins reject and the machine just kept them?

    • Coin Collector says:

      I used TD's coin counting machine again. It counted the coins exactly right. I won a prize too! I think what happened the first time is, I started pushing in the coins before pressing the second 'GO' button. The first 'GO' button takes you to the second 'GO' or 'GUESS' button. Having free coin counting is a great service and will generate interest in TD bank.

  27. Although almost a year old, this post came in handy. I thought I remembered someone saying that TD Bank had a free change counter. I googled and found you (because not knowing for sure what “Penny Arcade” was, I could not find the info on the TD Bank site!) We don’t have a huge amount of change saved up, but my change cup overfloweth and my daughter wants to “trade it in”! I love the post…. We have a TD bank right down the street, and if I did not have an established account with free everything, I would consider switching.

  28. Tre'nace W says:

    Well the bank is ok…the coin counting machine is fun..but I don’t really agree with the fee’s…I got a 35 dollar overdraft fee for goin over by 72 cents…n once less than 2 Bucks..so after I got that 70 dollar fee…they charge me 20 more dollars for not paying it within ten days…that just ridiculous….I hear all banks will be stopping the overdraft fee if the overdraft is less than five dollars…is that true?

  29. Hey Whitney,
    Nice to see the Penny Arcade mentioned. I actually designed it while working as a User Experience Architect at Refinery (now G2) in Hatboro PA.

    Actually, to be completely fair, we redesigned it from the original which was a little clunky.

    It was a really cool project. We went and staked out one of the locations for a while to watch staff and customers use the machine.

    In hindsight I guess that was a little creepy. People don’t generally want to be stared at while transacting money, but, we were as subtle as possible.

    Glare was a huge issue with the screens since a lot of their locations are basically just giant glass boxes. We got them to use non-reflective screens on many of the units. We also added the second area at a kid-friendly height so parents didn’t have to keep lifting their kids to use it and made some suggestions around how the coin return worked too.

    A lot of the changes were under the hood and behind the scenes. Commerce did a lot of analytics and reporting around the units. Stuff like time up, time down, most used etc. The button to run the reports was right next to another commonly used control (I forget which– it’s been a while now) and there was no way to stop it once you started so, staff used to hate when they’d accidentally run a report. So we suggested moving that as well.

    Also, back at the office we completely redid the web-based software they used for reporting. That was awful, like hundreds of wireframes. Plus, Commerce was big on UML, which I didn’t know at the time, and I remember the functional requirements all had to be in UML that their tech guys had to approve. Lots of late night reading to get up to speed.

    I remember they gave us the guts of a unit to keep in the office, and we didn’t have the proper sized coin bags to catch the money so we went to the local target and bought gym socks to double as bags.

    We did all the flows and scenarios for Penny, streamlining the commands and script from the original, but the flash animation was done by another vendor in Philly who’s name, unfortunately, I can’t remember. They did great work though. The new penny was much more Nickelodeon TV -looking and tested much better with kids than the original.

  30. It’s a Brandt counting machine, and The commerce /td part is extremely flawed. It counts like crap, if you throw all dimes in it mistakes many of them as pennies and you get screwed. As far as a percentage goes I would say you lose about 1.5 to 2% in my experience. I am actually surprised that the division of weights and measures doesn’t come down on them.

  31. The machine mis-counts BADLY. And, they won’t do anything for you when it does. The TD Bank location in Absecon, NJ is VERY suspect to myself and my wife. We took a LARGE amount of change to this location, a full 5 gallon water jug that we’ve been filling for over 10 years. When it was 1/4 of the way full many years ago my wife counted by hand and it was over $700.00. When we took our change to the bank to count it all my wife kept insisting that she at least count the quarters, I begged her not to, a decision I now regret. The machine stopped counting TWICE during our exchange and they had to pull bags off it and start over. When they opened the machine the second time I saw the real dollar amount on the display that they hide inside the machine, it was $1,166.67, verified by the bank manager herself. As opposed to the fake counter on the screen that never tells you what the “real” number is which is highly questionable that they hide the real number inside the machine . You have to ask yourself, why? At this point we were only about 1/3 of the way through our change, so we figured we would at least have about 2,800. In the end the machine only gave us $1,500 which we IMMEDIATELY disputed. The bank manager told us that there was nothing they could except wait to see when the money was all counted and if there was an over-age they would call us. They never called us. So we stopped in to the bank again a week later to inquire. The bank manager gave us more excuses but no real solutions. She just kept defending the machines accuracy over and over, and then she tried to say things like, maybe the rest of your change was all pennies, which is ridiculous. Somehow ALL the pennies were at the bottom, when quarters are heavier, yeah okay. Plus, WE put the change in ourselves so I think we would’ve noticed if most of the remaining change was only pennies. The bank manager told us they still have more money to count because of the holiday weekend and she would call us after it was all tallied. She never called us. Some of the things that the bank manager told us that are HIGHLY suspect: she said that they vacuum and clean machine everyday and check it’s accuracy. I can tell you that this is VERY hard to believe. At 11am when we went there and they opened the machine one of the FIRST thing I noticed was how FILTHY the inside of the machine was, and I also saw a TON of loose change on the floor and on the bottom of the machine under the bags. The other thing she said was the the machine is rarely ever wrong, but the teller we first reported it to said the machine is ALWAYS wrong. On our return trip a week later the manager explained about the holiday weekend and the tally they had at this point, and she even mentioned the bank OWED Brinks money because they were in fact – SHORT not over. So doesn’t that mean the machine is NOT accurate too? (Yes). We figure we had at minimum 2,800.00 in change, and that we were jipped out of at least 1,300 – WARNING: DO NOT TAKE YOUR CHANGE TO THEIR MACHINE! Someone needs to investigate this penny arcade business.

    • Coin Collector says:

      JD, if you didn’t count your coins first you can’t claim that you had more than you did. That’s crazy.

      • Crazy Coin Collector,

        No it’s not crazy. Clearly you didn’t read the post. It is ABUNDANTLY obvious the machine ripped us off. I’m not going to repost the very simple and logical facts when they are all in my original post. The only crazy thing I can think of is how anyone could read that post and not see that the machine malfunctioned. I’ll assume that you are not a very logical person. You’d probably argue something like, “how can you claim the sun is hot if you’ve never been there”.

        The jug was FULL, so I would even settle for a solution test – put in to the same jug the same number of coins that our receipt said the machine counted. If the jug is full, then I’d offer up my apologies and gladly go on my way. I am betting however, that if they offered to do this, the jug would only be about half full. Of course they made no such offer – they just kept defending the filthy machines accuracy that the manager said they vacuum every day, then speaking in very condescending tones to us, blowing us off, promising to call us and then neglecting to that (twice). Disgraceful and devious customer service, faulty coin counters, and now even more so suspect that they “charge” you 6% – things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.

        • Coin Collector says:

          JD, I am just saying that you can’t guess how much money is in a jug based on volume. Sure the sun is hot. But do you know what the exact temperature is? You might guess it is 50% hotter than it really is if you don’t take an actual measurement. Even if you put the number of coins that the receipt has listed and your container isn’t full, there is no way of proving that your container was full when you came into the bank.

  32. Without any warning whatsoever, they have implemented a 6% fee on the total amount of your change! If you change $1000, you’ll pay them a hefty fee of $60 for simply giving you notes for your change!! Scam artists….they try and talk you into opening an account with them to avoid this charge!!

    • Yes! I went in today and they told me that as a non TD customer, I now have to pay 6%! That is BS! I will be sure to let everyone know my thoughts on TD bank via Twitter and Facebook and encourage you all to do so as well!

      • Wow, never have heard that you have to be a TD bank customer or pay a service fee. I’m not surprised… Really don’t like the system @ the Penny Arcade… my son brought me a coin counting bank

        • Coin Collector says:

          Just got back from TD bank. Before I put in my change, the banker came up and told me that they now charge 6% if you don’t have an account with them. She said they had the policy change put in this past Thursday. I am glad that she told me before I used the machine. I should have asked if they still give out a token gift if you guess the amount correctly.

  33. It’s not free for non-customers anymore!!

    ——

    Penny Arcade®

    Make Every Penny Count and Customers count them for FREE!

    There is a fee for non-Customers. Become a Customer today and count your coins for FREE!

    Penny Arcades are being installed in select locations. To find the Penny Arcade nearest you, visit our ATM/Store Locator.
    Simply drop your coins into the Penny Arcade and take your receipt to a teller for cash or deposit into your account.
    And, if you have an unusually large amount of coins, just drop them off during lobby hours and your account will be credited within 5 business days.

  34. TD Bank PennyArcade — as of November 1st, I was just informed today they now charge 6% if you don’t have an account — and the way they are handling it is feels like a scam. They must really need the eight bucks they took out of my change count which now that I think about surprised me it was so low. The sign informing you of the 6% charge is no unobtrusively placed I don’t imagine anyone who has used the machine will look for it. I have used the machine before since the TD takeover. The teller seemed well equipped for my surprise when I presented my receipt. I took photos of the signage/lack of signage. Haven’t decided how much of a stink I wantt to make about this. I really felt like I had been had.

Trackbacks

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  4. […] I finally got off my lazy butt and took my bags of change to TD Bank’s Penny Arcade to cash in.  Take a guess at how much the total amount was in the comments.  The person who gets […]