It's one of the strangest corporate hookups I've seen lately, but I can't deny that it makes sense. Today Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick Coinstar International
The good news for coin-hoarders out there is that the gift-card option frees you of the usual 8.9% fee.
Of course, Amazon isn't the only company getting in on this action. The fee-less gift-card deal is also available from Starbucks
It's difficult to judge whether there's any quantifiable takeaway for investors in these deals. Obviously, Coinstar must be getting some kind of kickback for putting together these programs, but we don't know what it is right now. And Starbucks, Amazon, et al. obviously see some value in getting a shot at money that would otherwise be hiding under the couch cushions. Presumably, they're willing to pay something for that.
Perhaps the investment lesson here is to keep your eyes open for the myriad ways that companies can redefine the mechanics of payment services and benefit through fees and float. Like eBay's
So, people pay you (or at least charge you nothing) for the privilege of loaning you their money at 0% interest, and you can do what you want with it until they collect? In the business world, there aren't many deals sweeter than that.
For related Foolishness:
Seth Jayson prefers to dump his change into the free machine at his local bank. At the time of publication, he had positions in no company mentioned here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.