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Currency Discriminators vs. Currency Counters


A common question that we see from businesses is whether they should be using a cash discriminator or a basic currency counter. If you are looking at a Semacon currency counter right now, you probably want to know before you make a decision. These questions come from every industry you can imagine whether it is a bank, a credit union, a vending company, or even a retail store. The one thing that all of these industries have in common is their need to count currency, and of course they have a need to do it as quickly as possible. The big question has been posed, so let’s take a look at the two devices and determine which one is best for you.

A look at Currency Counters

currency counterIf you are looking for a low cost, entry-level piece of equipment then a basic currency counter is probably exactly, what you are going for. Currency counters, found in virtually any store that sells office supplies and they are normally portable. Higher end machines are more accurate, and they are very easy to maintain. It is also important to note that the higher end machines are equipped with counterfeit protection, including UV and magnetics. Currency counters have plenty of positives to them but there are some negatives, so let’s take a quick look.

When it comes to negatives, the first item on our list is the fact that you cannot buy the least expensive one that you find. If you want any measure of accuracy, you need to spend an adequate amount of money. It is also important to keep in mind that lower end currency counters are not able to recognize packs of money with multiple denominations. Therefore, as an example, if you have a $20 bill in with a group of $100 bills, a lower end currency counter will not recognize it. The machine is only counting pieces of paper. In addition to that, lower end machines have trouble detecting counterfeit bills, so, we would strongly recommend that you avoid purchasing currency counters from big box store.

A Look at Cash Discriminators

These are more expensive than currency counters and they give you the ability to count denominations in a single pass. You will be able to get a dollar total and a full breakdown by denomination. With high-end discriminators, you can connect a printer to get a hard copy of the audit trail. This is an outstanding way to ensure full accountability, and to make it even better, these machines normally have full counterfeit protection which is enacted using:


  • IR
  • UV
  • MG
  • CIS


cash discriminatorThese sensors will keep your money clean, and the machine itself will be able to count at up to 800 notes per minute. If you think that a person can do it for less, consider that the average individual can count only 100 notes per minutes, which makes the currency counter eight times more effective than a human. 

The biggest disadvantage is the size and cost of these machines. They can cost anywhere between one thousand and three thousand dollars, and they are also quite a bit taller. In addition to that, we recommended that you have a service contract on your machine to keep it in good condition throughout its life.

In the end, whichever one you choose, we would strongly recommend that you choose the one that serves your needs best, and most importantly, that you expect to spend a bit more money on it than you would the average purchase. Avoid the big box units at all costs and find the one that has the features you need to make your business more effective.