How to Count Money Fast

How to Count Money Fast

If you’re handling large sums of cash on a regular basis, knowing how to count money fast is a useful skill. It makes you more productive while allowing you to get through the tedious task of counting so much quicker.

If you work on a till, counting back change to a customer is another useful skill. It saves customers time counting their change when you can recite it back to them.

Top Tips for Counting Money Fast

  1. Organise your denominations
  2. Make sensible stacks of cash
  3. Improve your dexterity
  4. Check your accuracy
  5. Practice makes perfect!

Organise your denominations

Coins and notes are specifically designed to be easy to identify, so take advantage of this. Before counting, separate each denomination into its own group. Once each group has been counted, add up all the separate values together.

Make sensible stacks of cash

When piling your denominations ahead of counting, stack them in reasonable piles. Stacking 100 coins in one pile is obviously a bad idea, but the same goes for notes. Some people find it easier to count enough notes that they can hold in their hand. When stacking cash, stick to easy to divide numbers like 5s or 10s.

Improve your dexterity

Counting notes requires a high level of manual dexterity. The faster your fingers, the quicker you can flick through all that cash.

Check you accuracy

Accuracy should always take precedence over speed. Counting your cash correctly is the most important thing. It’s the whole reason for counting it, after all! Once you’ve counted your cash, make a note of the total and then count it again. When it comes to counting cash, “belt and braces” is always the best approach.

Practice makes perfect!

The more you count cash, the better you’ll get at it. Both your brain and your muscle memory will get sharper, so counting cash will become second nature in no time.

Best Way to Count Money

The best way to count notes is to organise each note into a pile, all organised so they are facing the right way round. Hold the notes in one hand and lay one note at a time on the table or counter one at a time. Count up the value until you reach a reasonable number.

As a general rule, if you’re counting…

  • £5 notes, add up to £250
  • £10 notes, add up to £500
  • £20 notes, add up to £1,000

Once you’ve reached the limit, bind the notes in an elastic band and continue counting until all the notes of that denomination are counted. Do the same with the other denominations and add them all together for the total.

To count coins, you want to do a similar thing to notes, only pick them up. Separate the denominations out into piles. Then, placing one hand below the edge of the table, use the fingers of the other hand to sweep coins off the table and into your open palm. Make stacks of ten coins and add the values.

How to Count Back Change

To count back or work out change, there are a few mental tricks you can use to make counting faster. To work out change, start by filling in the gaps of whole pounds gradually, then add the difference in whole pounds.

For example,

A customer wants to buy a dress priced at £12.89 and pays with a £20 note. How do we work out change? You need to work out the difference between 12.89 and 20.

Start with the last digit and round up.

9 + 1 = 10, so adding 1p gives us:


To turn the next 9 into a 0, we add 10p:


Now we just add £7 to get twenty!

So the change from £20 is £7.11

When counting back change, you can do the same thing. Start at the price and add up, handing over change as you go (1p, 10p, £2 coins and a £5 note). But this presents a problem.

Handing over coins then notes makes it hard for customers to hold. Unsecured notes could be dropped, while change can fall between figures.

So, when you’re counting back change, declare the total you’ve worked out (£7.11 in this case) and start from the largest denominations. This means you hand over the notes first, then the coins from largest to smallest.

The fastest way to count money

These tips are handy for learning how to count cash quickly. But the fastest way is to use technology. Coin and note counters can handle thousands of pounds in seconds. They count with absolute accuracy, saving the time of recounting. With the capacity to  process over £1,000 in 30 seconds, money counters from Zzap give businesses time, security and peace of mind.

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