Magazine article American Banker

A 24-Karat Experiment - Kiosks That Dispense Gold

Magazine article American Banker

A 24-Karat Experiment - Kiosks That Dispense Gold

Article excerpt

Byline: Frederick H. Lowe

A German asset management company is testing specialized kiosks that sell gold to consumers.

Thomas Geissler, the chief executive of TG-Gold-Super-Markt.de, a Web site operated by the online investment fund company Infos GmbH, said it deployed the first Gold-To-Go machine at Frankfurt's main train station last month and is planning to install a second one next week at the city's airport.

Transit hubs have plenty of foot traffic and tight security, making them a good fit for the kiosks, Geissler said. However, he may also consider installing them in banks, jewelry stores, hotels and shopping malls.

The company eventually wants to deploy as many as 500 of the machines in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, he said.

Selling small pieces of gold could pique consumers' interest in buying larger amounts through TG-Gold-Super-Markt, Geissler said.

The kiosks offer one-, five- and 10-gram pieces, along with gold coins, for about $44 a gram. The price "is a 20% discount compared to gold sold elsewhere in Germany," he said, and such small sizes make the gold more of a novelty souvenir than an investment. "But it will be definitely a better hit than a bunch of flowers."

Customers can pay for their purchases with credit and debit cards and cash, though Geissler said there are limits on the amount of gold that can be bought with cash, because of anti-laundering regulations. The kiosks are not automated teller machines, and do not dispense cash.

TG-Gold-Super-Markt buys gold from Umicore Group, a Belgian materials technology company that refines precious metals.

George Milling-Stanley, a managing director of the World Gold Council, a London trade group established by the gold mining industry, said he was not aware of any other companies that have tried selling gold through kiosks.

"This is very smart way to promote the sale of gold," he said. …

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