When Hill learned that other banks had started refusing to accept large numbers of coins or were charging customers to do so, he saw an opportunity.
“We said, ‘We’re going to spend $10 million to take your coins,’” he says. The added value isn’t in the form of a service charge on each transaction, the way change machines typically operate. The Penny Arcade is free. Hand your receipt to the teller, and you get the full amount in cash.
Where’s the value in that? “The Penny Arcade is more than a mere convenience,” says Hill. The real appeal is that it’s fun. Kids want to use it. Pack rats need to use it. People waiting in line at the teller counter can’t help but watch when someone steps up to the machine lugging a coffee can filled with coins. In its own small way, the Penny Arcade transforms the bank into a more interesting place. And that, says Hill, is how you create traffic. Last year, Commerce’s Penny Arcades handled 750,000 transactions, which totaled $71.7 million. Now that’s real change.