Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cash Machine for Bankless; It Targets Those Who Want Cash but Don't Have a Bank Account

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cash Machine for Bankless; It Targets Those Who Want Cash but Don't Have a Bank Account

Article excerpt

Byline: ROGER BULL

Its creators describe it as an ATM for people who don't have a bank. It's called CashMe, and it's a check-cashing kiosk created by two Jacksonville men. Andy Williams, who has owned United Heritage insurance, Jacksonville Yacht Basin and Heritage Cash Advance in the past, is the business side of things. Ben Balke, president of Etchasoft, is the software side of it.

It works like this:

A first-time user inserts his driver's license and basic personal information, a quick background check is run, and a personal identification number and debit card is issued. From then on, the user can cash either business or government checks, with the funds going on the debit card.

There is an obvious question about basing a business model on checks when they're being used less and less.

"Ten percent of the nation is still unbanked," Balke said.

Williams said their target audience is the worker who gets a paycheck each week and wants to cash it, but doesn't have a bank account.

"Let's be honest," he said. "A lot of them are Hispanic. We're going to be issuing secondary cards, no one's ever done that before. When someone enrolls, he can get a second card and mail it to relatives in Mexico.

"The next time he cashes a check, he can put $100 of it on the secondary card."

They've received a patent on the kiosk (that took almost six years) and operated a couple of prototypes in Heritage Cash Advances offices, a payday loan company that Williams has since sold.

Those prototypes used debit cards that were affiliated with the Plus banking system, but Balke said they will be going with either Visa or Mastercard. …

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