Magazine article American Banker

ATM Owners Leery of Fallout over Surcharges Can Sell Ad Space Instead

Magazine article American Banker

ATM Owners Leery of Fallout over Surcharges Can Sell Ad Space Instead

Article excerpt

Surcharging at automated teller machines is one controversial way for banks to make a buck, but selling ATM advertising can help the cash machines pay off without causing a riot.

Many ATM owners are making extra income by charging local merchants for advertising, and offering discounts on, their wares either onscreen or on the transaction receipts.

"We're definitely seeing a growing interest," said Michelle Patterson, a spokeswoman for Diebold Inc., the Canton, Ohio-based ATM manufacturer.

Once looked upon as a way to save money for banks by replacing human tellers, the ATM is fast becoming an income producer and communications tool. Popular new uses include selling stamps, phone cards, and tickets, printing statements, cashing checks to the penny, and disseminating information.

Fleet Financial Group Inc. recently purchased two financial institutions - Shawmut National Corp. and National Westminster Bancorp - that used ATM receipts to offer deals to consumers, such as discounts at Six Flag amusement parks.

A Fleet spokesman said the Boston-based bank is looking at adopting the strategy on a companywide basis. Whether the bank uses the receipts to push a home loan or to create partnerships with local merchants, he said, it "views that space as valuable."

Furthermore, he called it a way to be "environmentally conservative," reducing direct mailings and saving paper.

Many banks utilize the ATM screen to advertise bank products, like credit card offers or Web pages, or for public service announcements, but Union Federal Savings Bank, a $1. …

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