Magazine article American Banker

AMEX to Sell Travelers Checks through ATMs

Magazine article American Banker

AMEX to Sell Travelers Checks through ATMs

Article excerpt

American Express Co. will be dispensing its travelers checks at automated teller machines through a partnership with Diebold Inc. and Electronic Data Systems Corp.

Under the arrangement, Diebold has created the hardware to upgrade the machines and EDS will send the transaction information from the sites to American Express.

The travel services company is marketing this service to banks as a way to move consumers out of their teller lines and "leverage their investment at ATMs," according to Carl Lehmann, president of the American Express Travelers Cheques Group.

"The travelers check is very rich [for banks] from a fee perspective," Mr. Lehmann said.

The average travelers check purchase is $1,000, Mr. Lehmann said, and banks traditionally charge a 1% fee. The ability to provide these checks to consumers faster and without wasting tellers' time can be profitable, he added.

Testing of the service began at one site -- Comerica Bank-Texas, a unit of Comerica Inc. -- and three other test sites are making this service available this month. Shawmut Bank is due to upgrade machines at locations in Hartford, Conn., and Boston today, and the San Antonio Federal Credit Union in Texas will be up in mid-June.

Customers seem to prefer the faster transaction time using the ATMs as opposed to going to a teller for checks, said Jeff Roesler, the assistant vice president for electronic banking at Comerica Bank.

Bank officials have been walking customers through the new process at the ATM to get them acquainted, he said.

Use of the ATM cuts the transaction time down from 10 minutes for the traditional traveler's check transaction to one minute for the ATM transaction, he added.

Although this new service is expected to elicit greater fee revenue from ATMs, Mr. Roesler said that the bank is providing the service without charge through the test period, ending June 30. …

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