Automated Teller Machines Expand beyond Banks

Article excerpt

DAYTON, Ohio _ When Tim Slater needs some quick cash, he bypasses the friendly neighborhood bank teller in favor of a machine.

"I use it about every day," the 35-yeard businessman said after a visit to an automated teller machine in a downtown office tower.

"I never deposit money into it; I just take money out of it. It takes a couple minutes. You don't have to wait in line."

Millions of others nationwide also rely heavily on ATMs for their banking business, so much so that more and more banks have been expanding their uses beyond the realm of finance.

Besides making cash withdrawals or deposits, some people can now use electronic machines to buy postage stamps or bus passes, renew driver's licenses, even obtain welfare benefits. ATMs have been cropping up in grocery stores, bowling alleys, college campuses and military ships.

"I think the ATM will become a device that does a lot more than just cash dispensing," said Paul Ayres, a vice president for Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio, which is one of several banks to offer stamplling services through its ATMs.

"You're going to see selfrvice proliferating in government, in retail," agreed Michael Denny, assistant vice president of strategic major accounts for Daytonsed NCR Corp., a major manufacturer of ATMs.

"There are going to be many opportunities for new selfrvice devices in nonaditional areas."

Since they appeared on the scene in the early '70s _ the first was installed by Citizens and Southern National Bank in Atlanta in 1971 _ ATMs have grown by leaps and bounds, and so have the number of transactions.

By 1991, there were 83,000 ATMs operating in the United States, up from 25,790 in 1981, according to the Washingtonsed trade group American Bankers Association. Monthly transactions per ATM reached 6,403 last year, up from 5,235 a decade ago, with most people, like Slater, the Dayton businessman, relying on them for cash withdrawals, it said.

Customers like having 24-hourday, sevenyweek access to their money.

So with ATMs firmly embraced, the next logical step was to add other timeving features.

Over the years, more and more banks began expanding banking services by providing things like checking account statements, but more recently they started offering nonbanking products. Some banks collect small fees for these services, others provide them free of charge to their customers.

Seattlesed Seafirst Bank has been a pioneer in expanding ATM useage. In 1989, it allowed bank customers to buy $10 and $25 gift certificates that could be redeemed at some Seattle malls. In 1990, it started selling postage stamps, and a year later bus passes. …

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