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Currency Counters VS Currency Discriminators: The Pros and Cons

Regardless of the type of business that you own, if you own a company that deals in a reasonable amount of cash, you will likely need to count it quickly and accurately. Knowing if you need a currency counter or a currency discriminator can sometimes be challenging. If we define each unit and consider the pros and cons of both, we can ascertain what type of currency processing solution would be best for your situation.

Currency Counters:

  • Defined
    • A currency counter or a currency counting machine is defined as a machine that counts money.  Currency counters are actually counting the note itself.  It will not know the denomination of the bills themselves.
  • Pros
    • Higher quality currency counters can quickly count your cash.
    • Lower costs – Typically under $1000.
    • Small size – Standardly designed to be portable. Usually less than 9 inches by 11 inches and weighing under 20 pounds.
    • Programmable batch amounts to strap bundles
    • Low maintenance
    • Simple user operation
    • Counterfeit detection
  • Cons
    • Lower quality machines can be inaccurate
    • Will not distinguish denominations on banknotes
    • Does not for facing or orientation of bills

Currency Discriminators

  • Defined
    • Currency discriminators are defined as currency counters that not only count your currency but can actually determine the denomination of each note as it is counted!  This provide MANY advantages over typical “currency counters”
  • Pros
    • Relatively small size – Approximately 12 inches by 12 inches
    • Can counts mixed denominations and provide an amount total
    • Gives a total of cash as well as a breakdown of the balance by denomination
    • Optional printer for audit purposes
    • Batch stops for bundling cash into straps.
    • Faces and Orient capabilities.
    • Advanced counterfeit detection
      • IR, UV, MG and CIS sensors
    • Continue counting while sorting out potential counterfeit notes (S-2500)
    • Typically counts 800 - 1500 bills per minute
  • Cons
    • Costs – These units usually cost between $1,500 and $3,000.

Currency Counters VS Currency Discriminators

Deciding which unit is best for your company is going to depend on your needs. If you find that more often than not you are counting mixed denominations, you may be better off getting a currency discriminator. If your business typically counts one denomination at a time and your team is usually pretty careful to sort the notes well, you may find that a currency counter will work for you. If facing your money is very important to you and currency counterfeit security is an issue that your company struggles with, a discriminator can probably create more efficient use of your time.  If batching your money with quicker speed and higher security level than the average person can guarantee, then again a currency discriminator would be the best call. At the end of the day, it is all about what is going to work best for you and help your business be the most efficient. Sometimes you do have to consider price for return as well. One of the more significant differences in these units other than their weight is their price points. A lot of grocery stores or even big box stores typically utilize currency counters to help them with the time it takes to count large sums of cash and prepare if for bank deposits while financial institutions and other sizeable mixed cash businesses often use currency discriminators. These types of companies find peace of mind and a greater sense of security with the more advanced machines that can automate a more significant number of tasks for them.

Currency Scales:

One other option for your company may be a coin and currency scale.  These solutions are primarily for the counting of cash drawers only.   Since they can count both currency and coins they are capable of counting a cash drawer in minutes!   Your cash drawer would have coin insert cups that allow the operation to place the cup on the scale and instantly know the amount of the coin in the cup.  The notes are placed on the scale as well for quick cash counting.   The scale can also keep your “bank” dollar amount in memory and alert you when the bank (the money that you leave in the drawer) is reached.  A the end of your counting session the scale can let you know how much to remove to leave just the bank in the drawer.  Again,  these coin and currency scale solutions are mainly for drawer counting.  For just bill, not coin counting the currency counters and currency discriminators would be your best choice.

PBS Office and Your Business’s Cash Handling Needs

Here at PBS Office, we offer a wide variety of cash handling tools. With our extensive selection, we are sure to carry a currency counting solution that will meet your needs. Our expert staff is available to help you evaluate your company to see which item, a currency counter or currency discriminator would be best for you. We can show you a few products that might help your money handling become more accurate, secure, and efficient at a price point warranted by your needs. Please feel free to browse our different products and contact us at any time for assistance. Call 800-359-0364 or reach out at