Are ATMs Obsolete?

ATMs are celebrating their 40th birthday with a midlife crisis, wondering if their usefulness to society is at an end as people increasingly rely on credit cards for everyday transactions, and debit cards for cash back.

The numbers are pretty startling: The total number of machines in the U.S. dropped by 1,000 from 2005 to 2006 (although still at a hefty 395,000). The total number of U.S. ATM transactions dropped in 2006 for the second consecutive year, to 10.1 billion. Monthly transactions per U.S. ATM, at 2,131 in 2006, are barely a third of the level in 1996.

ATMs are expensive for banks, costing up to $50,000 per machine plus annual maintenance costs of at least $12,000. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer thinks the tea leaves spell the obsolescence of ATMs. We are not sold. What do you think? Vote in our poll, after the jump…

Gawker Media polls require Javascript; if you’re viewing this in an RSS reader, click through to view in your Javascript-enabled web browser.

Is the ATM growing obsolete? [Seattle P-I]
(Photo: DarthMullet)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. cgi5877 says:

    WHERE IS THE STING OPERATION VIDEO PLEASE!?!?

  2. DojiStar says:

    And how much is it going to cost annually to have all the windows at the bank filled with tellers to accomodate all those people who need to make transactions that could have been done throughthe ATM. I haven’t been in a bank in years, I don’t think I am alone. Everything is done through the ATM or online banking.

    Plus I find those numbers a bit suspect. In the past years, private ATM’s have popped up everywhere. At gas stations, convienence stores, strip joints, grocery stores, ect… 2 corner stores 1 block away from me are both equipped with ATM’s.

    Maybe the bank may be cutting back on ATM’s but the ATM in general is popping up everywhere.

  3. vr4z06gt says:

    i use the ATM very seldomly, only when I need to purchase last minute things around town at little places that don’t take CC’s, but since the town is small I can easily walk from the bank to the stores…soo i guess there is a trade off, otherwise I simply just us my CC everywhere and if needed Debit Card for cash back. My other thing is when I do need cash and don’t feel like paying $2.00 in fees, I just go to the gas station and buy a pack of gum for $0.25 then get whatever I need in cash, and I can eat the ‘fee’, literally.

  4. allstarecho says:

    Banks and retail outlets will eventually start charging fees for cash back and THAT will begin the death of the ATM. Why pay $50000 for the machine and $12000 for the annual maintenance when you’ve got retailers all around you providing the service at no charge to you, the bank. Then you, the bank, can tack on a buck or two and still make fees that cost you nothing in stead of costing you $62000 per machine. It’ll be called the “CC” fee: Cash Convenience fee. Bye bye ATMs.

  5. dextrone says:

    ALLSTARECHO: The CC fee:

    Description: Have cash instead of a plastic card and wow your friends, showing them you actually use [ancient]*paper* money.
    $5 per 1$ retrieved from the bank in solid cash

    Why:We give you 2 cent plastic cards, why do you need paper, besides it’s not like we have any other ideas for fees. {our executive boards also think we should eliminate the physical bank+atm locations, so now you’ll have to pay for postage from our imaginary office in Antarctica+our imaginary office handling fee for physical money}

  6. raybury says:

    A quarter-percent net decrease in ATM numbers can easily be explained by bank mergers. Fewer transactions? People getting $100 at a time instead of $20 because of ATM fees.

    Non. story.

  7. TexasBelle says:

    I hope ATMs don’t go away anytime soon. A couple of years ago, I went retro and traded in my debit card for an ATM card. Why? Debit cards are too risky to carry around. If I leave one somewhere or my wallet gets stolen, my account could be cleaned out before I even know it. Sure, the bank promises to put my money back, but how long and how much red tape will it take? Meanwhile, I’m broke. Until debit cards carry the same legal protections as credit cards, I don’t want one.

  8. banned says:

    I don’t know about the USA but in Canada, ATM charges are ridiculous, to the point the government will soon step in. An ATM not owned by my bank will charge $1.50 followed by another $1.50 charged by my bank. $3/withdrawl, especially on a $20 withdrawl (%15), is far too steep, and in-store cash-backs cost nothing. To me, they are money-sucking machines to be avoided like the plague.

  9. Roundonbothends says:

    Break down in the middle of nowhere and need a tow truck? Only have $20 in the wallet? Joe Local Tow can solve the problem, but he doesn’t take credit or debit cards. The solution? Let’s detour by the ATM machine. Joe Local Tow charged me $90 for a one and a half mile tow to his shop in a rickety old Ford tow truck that had seen it’s better days in the previous decade. The Dodge dealer I then called came with a big, new truck and charged only $55 to tow it the 15 miles to where Joe Local should have taken it anyway.

    The difference? The police in the small town in the middle of nowhere called Joe Local for me. His was the only game in town, and he was perfectly content in screwing people only once.

    But it was good that in the least significant town in Georgia, there’s an ATM downtown. It allowed me to get the hell out of there.

  10. bohemian says:

    I use ATMs more now than I used to. My card number was stolen in the TJ Maxx data theft. I had to get a new card issued and chase down all of my accounts that had my old number for billing. What a disruptive pain. I have less trust in using my card for point of sale. I also get massively tired of being asked for my phone number or other personal information every time I shop somewhere. It is easier to tell them no and hand them cash when they are being really pushy about data.
    There are also places that have crazy policies resulting in false card denials. Old Navy repeatedly declined my card when I knew I had a large balance. Why? They asked me for a phone number or would not run the card. They claimed I was not providing the “right” phone number assigned to the card somewhere in some system. Since we have had roughly twelve phone numbers in the last few years between various cell phones, land lines and home office lines I had no clue what one they wanted.
    Cash is becoming easier and less worries about mis-charged amounts or theft. Our bank also started letting point of sale transactions go through even if you didn’t have enough funds in some cases. They then charge you an NSF fee.
    All of this has seriously limited our card use and increased our cash use.
    On our recent vacation I used my card to prepay our hotel rooms and to use for security deposit during our stay. Just about every other purchase was with cash.

  11. Melov says:

    I haven’t used cash ever since I turned 18 and was able to open my own checking account. If I have cash in my wallet I’m more eager to spend it than I am if I have a debit card. If a business doesn’t take my debit card then I feel they are not worthy of my money, so I’ll go elsewhere. It’s very rare that I find a business that doesn’t take debit cards since I live in Cincinnati though. I also don’t see why some people still carry cash. It’s a very big financial mistake in my opinion.

    Also, if someone steals my credit card/debit card, I’m not reliable. The bank will give me the money back. If someone steals my cash, then I’m completely out of luck.

  12. debh says:

    This would seem to be a very city-centric view — if you are some smaller cities, or not in a city at all, many local shops don’t accept debit or credit cards. And some of us prefer not to shop at Walmart, Home Depot, or Staples.

  13. gusgus says:

    I am using ATMs less (about once or twice a week, instead of 1 or more times a week), but that is because I am spending less & putting more into my savings.

    How I spend when I do spend is just about the same. I use a credit card for all in-store purchases. I never use debit. If I pop into a crowded chaotic bar where it would be difficult to track a tab I’ll pay as I go. If it’s a quiet bar, I’ll open a tab.

  14. Melov says:

    @Melov:
    I also can’t stand the fact that almost every single ATM around now only allows you to withdraw money in 20s. It’s my money, I should be able to get as much out as I want. If I want $4.69 then the ATM should be able to give me it.

  15. Melov says:

    @TexasBelle:
    It doesn’t take long to get your money back. The bank is under a strict time limit when dealing with fraud. Read up on the regulations. Chase will overnight you a check for the amount you claim is fraud. If it turns out to be fraud you don’t have to pay the bank back.

  16. Onouris says:

    I’m just glad ATMs in England are far better.

    I don’t shop often enough to get cash from cashback, and paying for everything on a credit card is rediculous, and on a debit card costs more.

    None of our ATMs charge for getting cash, and they are literally everywhere. Petrol Stations, inside and outside Banks, Supermarkets. Great stuff.

  17. Gazpacho says:

    The only reason I use an ATM is to deposit my pay check. Hm, zip through the drive up ATM or go inside and wait in line for a teller? Give me a machine any day, too much anxiety to bother with people.

  18. Trick says:

    Back in the 80’s the ATM was hailed as a wonder machine that would save the bank and the consumer plenty of money. Banks did all that they could to push you out the door and to the ATM, so they could hire less employees.

    Now the banks have less employees because so many people use the ATM now yet ATM’s are more expensive and costly to use.

    Yeah right.

    Funny how technology has lowered the price everywhere except for that machine, running a certain flavor of Microsoft Windows, dispensing money…

  19. ColoradoShark says:

    @rocnrule: I don’t like spending money to get my own money either but I really don’t understand why someone would take out only $20. It doesn’t last long, the percentage fee to get it *is* ridiculous and taking out $100 doesn’t make you a big target for mugging.

  20. SexCpotatoes says:

    Diebold is getting out of the ATM making business, they’re too busy fixing vote Republican machines.

  21. Squeezer99 says:

    i use ATM’s to get cash out to pay for items that don’t accept credit (haircuts, sunday newspaper machine, etc). i do not use my debit card because i have a rewards credit card (except i use my debit card for money orders at the post office)

  22. I live my life in a permanent state of shock and personal offense every time i go into a restaurant that either does not take cards, or has one of those gas-station ATMs in it. If I need cash, I get it the American way: buy gum at Ralph’s and pay with debit card.

    However, my husband does for some reason, keep checking his account statements at the ATM, and likes to keep cash in his pocket, for whatever weird reason.

  23. Eukaryote says:

    I worked as a teller in a bank, and I considered myself a “glorified ATM.” Basically, almost every transaction that I conducted was able to be done at the ATM. As such, I only use ATMs for the vast majority of my banking. And I usually like to keep about 40 bucks in cash for incidental purposes.

    And I know that it’s cheaper for the bank for me to hit the atm in their branch, even without the fees, than it is for the time I would have taken with a teller.

    I don’t have statistics to back it up, but with ATMs being so omni-present, I’m sure that banks save more money using them than they do hiring tellers.

    As a part-time teller, I eked out a bit more than 12k a year.

  24. William C Bonner says:

    So, in the first year an ATM costs $62k. But in two years the ATM costs $74k, I’ll bet that a teller gets at least $30k a year, so by the third year the ATM is cheaper than a teller, and the ATM continues working 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, with no scheduled breaks.

    I use credit cards or cash for all of my purchases, and avoid debit purchases. If I need cash, I go to the ATM.

    That method simnplifies my personal accounting. I know all of the credit purchases, and money only leaves my bank account directly to pay bills or explicit cash withdrawals.

    I use ATMs for deposits all the time. I enter each check as a seperate deposit, so they show up as seperate lines on my monthly statement. Also I usually end up remembering to make the deposits at strange hours, when the bank is not open.

  25. AaronGNP says:

    @DojiStar: I work for one of the largest banks, in the ATM area, and even though there are ATMs in, as you say, gas stations, strip joints, etc. They still have to run through the vast ATM network, so that ATM is accounted for at *some* level.

    My guess for why the number of ATMs are decreasing is easy. Bank consolidation. All these bank mergers from years back is finally getting resolved once the ATMs they own become obsolete. As an example. Bank A merges with Bank B. Bank A has an ATM at their branch, and Bank B has an ATM at the gas station next door. When the ATM at the gas station next door finally breaks down or becomes obsolete, rather than replace it, they just get rid of it. Not the best example, but this happens *a lot*.

    AGNP

  26. Yossarian says:

    If all the shady, tax cheating restaurants in NY would start taking credit/debit cards, I’d have no reason to carry cash.

  27. @Yossarian: Sorry, I love your screen name. MWAH.

    I agree though. In Los Angeles, almost none of the Chinese restaurants take plastic of any type, which creates this whole need to slog through the um…snow…to the ATM. >.>

    I prefer to use tellers for depositing checks, as well. I don’t trust that they’ll get into the computer any other way.

  28. @Yossarian: Seriously. Most of the delis and restaurants near my home and work do not accept credit cards at all. And every single deli I go to in NYC that does accept them violates the merchant agreement by either enforcing a minimum or charging a usage fee. $10 minimum is ridiculous. Most of the time the only reason I went into that specific deli is because they had a Mastercard logo in the window, only to order a sandwich and then be told I have to spend $6 more to use my card. And then they are mad when I don’t want to buy more and don’t have cash on me.

  29. Marce says:

    I’m not big on carrying cash, but some places still don’t take debit and credit cards. Local Taco Bells just began taking them in the last 2-3 years, for example. Snack machines and the little student cafeteria on my college campus are still cash-only. Also, I know people who prefer to support local businesses by not making them pay as much in monthly fees for the pleasure of having a credit card swiper (though that may be bad math; I don’t know).

  30. Kierst_thara says:

    If the banks do reduce the amount of available ATMs as a cost-cutting measure, that wouldn’t surprise me, since they’ve made it clear that their bottom line is much more important than actually providing service for their clients.

    If it happens though, I’ll be an even more unhappy camper. I use debit and credit regularly, but I also like to hit up the ATM every week or two and take out $40 or $60 for small stuff like coffees or drinks at the bar and other places where using plastic is more hassle than it’s worth. If you use your own bank’s brand of ATM and have the right kind of account, there’s no withdrawal fees, so you’re okay as long as you can find your bank’s machine.

    Also, I don’t know about other parts of Canada, but where I am, the only place that does cash-back is Wal-Mart, and I refuse to shop there, so that’s not really an option. My understanding of why the smaller places won’t offer cash back, is because the banks take a percentage(up to 3% or 4%, depending on your contract) of all debit/credit transactions on a retailer’s debit/credit unit, so for a small shop to give you $20 back on your $2.00 gum purchase actually costs them more than they make from selling you the gum.

  31. I don’t even know my pin #. I only use the ATM when abroad, and I always have to call and get my pin before I go.

    When I worked at a bank as an intern in 1998ish, they were already talking about the “failure” of ATMs, which hadn’t brought the predicted savings to the banks and hadn’t resulted in a significant reduction of teller traffic or the ability to close branches. They just resulted in more transactions.

  32. meneye says:

    my ATM makes it very easy to deposit checks. It will never go away as long as it keeps people from having to wait in long lines on a payday Friday.

  33. Ola says:

    ATMs are obsolete? This must be coming from the same people who think that call boxes are obsolete (what if the cell phone battery dies or you didn’t bring it with you?), and that *everyone* is just dying to use their credit cards. Not. ATMs are useful for withdrawing cash at odd hours (and regular hours, if you don’t want to stand in line at the bank) and depositing checks (ever seen a Friday paycheck line?). They’re convenient, and not all places take credit/debit cards, especially in low amounts. Other places, I don’t want to use a credit/debit card because I don’t want my pin stolen.

    BTW, where is the much-touted Best Buy video? The consumers are getting antsy…

  34. @Ola:

    “ATMs are useful for withdrawing cash at odd hours (and regular hours, if you don’t want to stand in line at the bank)”

    Not in many neighborhoods in Los Angeles. My husband only goes to his ATM because it’s indoors and requires a card swipe to get into it. My mom used to make me watch her back when she would go to the ATM in our old neighborhood. On the other hand, most grocery stores here are 24 hours, give cash back, and have guards.

  35. azntg says:

    I think the article is valid in some situations. For example, I question the logic of having an ATM in supermarkets/restaurants/stores, when they already accept credit and debit cards at the POS. It’s redundant at best.

    On the other hand, Bank ATMs probably never outlived its usefulness. My local WaMu branch has relatively short lines and friendly staff, so usually, I wait on line to get service. But from time to time, the ATM is still pretty useful for checking balances and making small on-the-spot cash withdrawls or deposits. Can’t say the same for other branches, the one geographically closest to my house (but in a different neighborhood) or close to my college is always packed and the ATM beats waiting in long and slow moving full-service lines.

    As a side note, I wish that most ATMs can dispense bills smaller than $20. Fine, maybe singles are ridiculous from a maintenance point of view, but perhaps $10 bills? $10 would hit the sweet spot in many cases for me.

  36. MrBartokomous says:

    Debit was all I used with my bank until they starting dinging me 1.25 for every transaction over 20 each month… that was when I switched to ATMs. It’s more convenient always having cash on me anyways.

  37. j-o-h-n says:

    @spiderjerusalem: Geez, that might be a sign that you should live elsewhere…

  38. plim says:

    @allstarecho: uh, why charge a fee to customers when it’s already free?

    i don’t know of a single retailler that offers cash back and charges a fee for it. we already get it for free, why are you trying to give the banks more ideas to nickel-and-dime us for getting access to our money?

    banks are already using our money when we give it to them. we should be charging *them* for using our money, and not just the paltry interest rate they give us =P

  39. FLConsumer says:

    ATMs aren’t going to be leaving anytime soon. The newer ones are finally integrating features the banks have been requesting for years (like verifiable cheque deposits, where the system actually scans the check in right at the deposit), better features, more reliable machines, etc.

    Excessive fees charged by banks are the largest enemy to ATM usage. While you can get around this by cherry-picking the right bank/credit union, it shouldn’t be this difficult. I specifically signed up with a credit union to have access to the highest # of fee-free ATMs I could. If the banks could stop their pissing contest, there’d be no need for 4 different banks having 4 different ATMs on the same streetcorner.

  40. allstarecho says:

    And now they got cell phones to pay for your schtuff. My local carrier, Cellular South, is now in beta testing with customers where they just wave this new cell phone over a pad and your schtuff is paid for. No keying in PINs, no signing. Talk about set-up for fraud.

    [www.cellularsouth.com]

  41. Helvetian says:

    I like them to make teller-free deposits to my checking account.

  42. TexasBelle says:

    @William C Bonner:
    Nice tip re: making each check a separate deposit so your accounting stays neat. Yeah, and I use a cash-back credit card everywhere that will accept it, and collect $100 check every 3-4 months.

    @Melov:
    Yeah, the rules are nice, and we do have some protections. But… what if my card gets stolen on the Friday before a long weekend? And what if I was going out of town for that weekend? What if the bank decides to challenge my assertion of fraud? I’d much rather argue the point with a company that didn’t already have my money.

  43. roamer1 says:

    @Squeezer99: I’m pretty much the same way — ATMs for deposits and for cash for vending machines, el-cheapo places that don’t take plastic (some restaurants, bars, parking lots, etc. still don’t), and very small purchases (less than $5), debit for cash back when outside Wachovialand and money orders for the odd eBay seller that doesn’t take PayPal, and credit (rewards card) for everything else.

  44. LilBambi says:

    Are ATMs Obsolete? Right! And people don’t drive petrol driven vehicles either.

    Honestly, between the crap they are putting out there about ATMs being obsolete and no one writes checks anymore — which would likely be more true, than ATMs being obsolete and no one using checks anymore isn’t true either, BTW.

    This appears to me to be a conspiracy to turn us all into a ‘card based’ country. RealID, Credit/Bank Cards, no more money, no more checks and each citizen owned by the ‘company store!’

    Just one more way to control the Citizenry?

    Pretty soon they will want to put those few items left to carry around in your wallet in a little RFID under your skin, and that way no one can lose them and they can’t lose you either, BTW.

    Hmmm….talk like this about ATMs being obsolete really makes one wonder about why they are trying so hard to get us all to a totally paperless system and now even a cardless system….

    I know the paperless society is to save trees, and I assume the cardless society is to save the the air from recycling dangerous, expensive and difficult to breakdown chemicals/compounds.

    I guess the next step will be to have everything in RFID form to save on prisons so they can just watch everyone.

    Sorry for the cheeky comments..but this ATM crap just came out of left field. They finally getting us all using ATMs and now they want to get rid of them. Brilliant plan…NOT!

  45. roamer1 says:

    @Kierst_thara: I don’t know how Interac charges merchants north of the border, but here in the US, merchants typically pay a small, flat fee (usually a quarter or so) for debit purchases with PIN that clear the Star/NYCE/Pulse/etc. networks, and a higher flat fee plus a percentage (anywhere from 1.5% to 4%) on credit card transactions and “debit as credit” (signature/PINless) transactions. The latter is why US banks are always telling customers to swipe and sign when using debit cards instead of swiping and entering a PIN, as they get higher fees that way.

  46. Piquant1 says:

    I have never had a debit card, too risky in my opinion. Just sign and go, right from my account. No thank you. ATM’s at least they are protected with a pin.
    If the ATM is down, it’s teller time or credit card.
    It seems that many use the ATM machine around here. While I was waiting at a drive-thru yesterday, four folks had used the ATM and the bank was open.
    It seems announcing the death of the ATM is a bit premature.

  47. @j-o-h-n: Or…you know, a sign that poor areas in Los Angeles could do with more civic interest? Everyone has to live somewhere, mate.

  48. hoo_foot says:

    I prefer using cash at small businesses/non-chain stores so that they don’t get hit up with transaction fees.

    I also use cash at restaurants because I simply don’t trust the majority of them with my debit or credit cards.

  49. mbressman says:

    Maybe the banks could encourage more ATM use and save on some costs of having to have SOOO many ATM’s if they dropped the stupid fees for using different banks’ ATM’s!

  50. Pipes says:

    A local gas station in my area, Sheetz, has completely dropped all fees for its ATM machines. It’s awesome. Certainly ATM usage would go up if that were the case everywhere.

    And @ AZNTG: I was crazy excited, as were all my friends, when our ATM started spitting out $10 bills. When you’re going to a bar and you know you’re going to get drunk and spend all the money in your pocket, you only want $10. (College town – $10 buys a lot!)

  51. eli_b says:

    I worked for one of the largest banks in america, and they were consistently opening new atm locations. The above posters were correct, it’s partially due to bank consolidation and also due to banks realizing (not a good thing) that they can just have 3 locations instead of 9 in an area and people will just drive further to one. That keeps them from upkeep on all those machines, and they pass the driving cost on to you. Sometimes it also makes sense for the bank to close down 3 antique ATM’s and open one good one they don’t have to constantly service.

    Also…I hardly use the ATM now that more and more places accept the debit card. Although for deposits, because of varying cutoff times and malfunctions with the ATM, I don’t trust just don’t trust it with the transaction.

  52. eli_b says:

    Whoa…sorry for the stutter in the last sentence!

  53. SisterHavana says:

    @mbressman: AGREED. The other thing I hate is how more and more banks will not let you make a deposit at their ATM if you are not a customer of that bank. Wasn’t one of the big selling points when ATMs started appearing everywhere that you could make deposits or get cash at ANY ATM, not just the one at your bank? When I need to deposit a check and both ATMs in town on my credit union’s network are out of service (which has happened!), that does not help me.

  54. Televiper says:

    Royal Bank in Canada used to have ATMs in some places that allowed you to withdraw $5 bills. It was great at my college because you withdrew anything from the ATM and the last $20 would come out in 5’s. The story goes that the Canadian $5 bill is blue matching the Royal Bank colours. I know the bank across the street from me no longer has an ATM that allows withdrawal of $5 bills so I can only speculate if it’s still available at all.

    Personally, I use ATMs for depositing cheques regularly and it’s usually done when the bank itself is closed. Most grocery stores expect a minimum purchase of $5 before getting cash back.

  55. Jesse in Japan says:

    At a lot of ATMs here in Japan, they have a coin dispenser so you can withdraw any amount of money from 1 yen to the maximum, 100,000 yen (though that varies from bank to bank). For deposits, they have a device that automatically counts the money for you (and it works with change too, with no Coinstar-type fees). Also, debit cards and credit cards aren’t in that wide use here, since you can basically carry carry around hundreds of thousands of yen with you at all times and never have to worry about being robbed.

  56. markwm says:

    In a former life, I worked as an ATM planner at a bank. Trust me, ATMs are very expensive to own and operate. We used to laugh whenever a C-store owner or other business operator would come in, excited they were getting an ATM, thinking it would boost significantly their income. Even with the fees charged, an ATM is generally a losing proposition. The bank saw them for what they were: advertising (and as expensive as an ATM is, it’s still cheaper than a billboard over the total life of the ATM, and more practical).

    @Melov:
    Re: Getting the amount of cash back you want, versus what the machine gives. ATMs are finite in the physical amount of currency they can hold. To maximize the amount of cash in one, you put larger bills. If an ATM were truly set up to be able to give “$4.69″, you’d be doing good to get about $12,000 in the unit, stuffed full. At that low of a cash volume, it’d either constantly be empty, or you’d constantly have your replenishment team onsite, adding to the cost of maintenance.

    @William C Bonner:
    *L* You’ve apparently never worked for a bank. Granted, nationally the pay may be better, but depending on location, tellers won’t make squat. Most banks around here see teller as an entry-level position with no experience, and as such pay minimum wage or a dollar or two above that. A non-seasoned teller making $18,000 is doing well for himself. I will agree that over the course of its life, though, an ATM is cheaper than a teller. Add to that that the ATM can work three eight-hour shifts per day, never takes vacation, sick time, personal time, nor requires benefits, and has fewer offages/cash variances, and it’s definitely cheaper to have than an employee.

  57. Shadowman615 says:

    I rarely carry cash around anymore. Especially in an urban area, every place takes a debit card, so there’s usually no need for ATMs or cash back, etc.

    Of course, the ATMs are still necessary, and I don’t think they’ll be going anywhere soon.

  58. @Pipes: We have ATM’s which work in $10 incrments also! they rock. And the Sheetz free ATM is great also.

    I pay various people in cash, as they do cash only business. I need my ATM.

  59. mermaidshoes says:

    the best ATM i’ve ever used dispensed singles (and larger denominations too). SINGLES! and no, it wasn’t near a strip club.

    i’ll need cash until all bars and vending machines (and strippers, apparently) start taking cards… mmm, booze and stale overpriced chips.

  60. kaikhor says:

    I used to be “debit card only” until I, like many americans, wasn’t being careful enough and saying “it’s ok, payday is friday, this won’t hit before then” and when it hit thursday, I was screwed. Now, I go to the ATM, take out a certain amount of cash, and voila! I’m not spending too much because I only use what I have on hand.

    As for the teller vs the ATM, I almost always use the ATM that is a walk up attached to my bank. I know it’s just like going up to a teller but without the lines and the person who I really don’t want to deal with.

  61. TheSeeker says:

    I rarely use (once/twice a month) use an ATM to withdraw money, but do so a little more often for deposits. My credit union is not very close by so I use a neighboring CU’s machine that is a member of COOP.

    If I need cash withdraw, I use the debit card at the grocery store and withdraw from there.

    Are the POS terminals considered ATM’s?

    Also, why do some stores have ATM machines in their stores when they also have POS terminals? Why would anyone use that ATM and incur the extra charges?

  62. annab says:

    My favorite Chinese restaurant only lets you use plastic for $10 and up, and when I go to concerts I always make sure I have cash. But in all I only go to the ATM a couple times a month. I do have to admit I like BoA’s new ATMs where you can deposit cash/checks before 8 p.m. and the money shows up that night. Unless the cash scanner is broken…which it usually is.

  63. markwm says:

    @TheSeeker:
    The ATM is just another ‘draw’. A person who needs to use an ATM and knows it is in that store, is more likely to then spend money in the store. There are not always fees involved in using the ATM, such as if it is your bank’s ATM. It’s also handy to be able to get your balance from the ATM, which cannot be done with POS equipment.

  64. Melov says:

    @idledebonair:
    It’s funny too because they only get charged about $0.35 for a single transaction. I’ve literally told people off. I was at an Ohio state park and they told me the debit card minimum was $65 or I could get charged $2 more for whatever it was I was about to buy. I told the guy to fuck off and that I couldn’t believe a park ran by the state was actually breaking it’s own laws.

    @TexasBelle:
    Banks ALWAYS have an open fraud line. Banks pretty much never tell you “No, it’s not fraud, you’re paying for it.” They have to prove you made the charge. If you know it’s fraud then you have nothing to worry about. Yes there are rules where you have to report it by a certain amount of days, but almost none of them go by those rules and are very loose on them. You should check your wallet every day. I don’t know how you couldn’t.

    @markwm: The mere fact that an atm charges me for getting money out of it is ridiculous if I can’t get the exact amount I want.

  65. synergy says:

    I use an ATM once a month usually because I need cash to make quarters for my turn at doing laundry. Otherwise, I never go to the ATM. Not that I really do much spending.

  66. markwm says:

    @Melov: The charge generally only happens when you use a machine not in your network. This is because there are several fees in the background that have to be recouped. They are either recouped by charging people who cause the fees to appear (ATM users) or they are disbursed throughout the bank (higher interest on loans, lower interest on savings, etc.)
    The ATM is not meant to be a replacement of the bank, but an extension and a matter of convenience. Realistically, to keep the amount of money in it to allow for every conceivable transaction request, especially when on the whole that request will never occur. Honestly, who would go to an ATM and request pennies, nickels, or dimes, or even quarters? However, those items would take up space inside the unit. The option is to go with a bigger unit to accommodate, or to cut down on the available funds in other, more popular denominations. It’s not easy to just say, “We’ll just slap a larger unit in.” Most ATM locations will be space-limited as it is, and often the owner of the space it will occupy balks at the size even one of the smallest units uses. They want to be able to say “we have an ATM” but they don’t want to lose the floor space to it.

  67. econobiker says:

    I prefer the “chewing gum fee” at a grocery store if there are no free atm’s for my bank around the area. I’d rather spend 40¢ than $2-$3 for $20 to $100 dollars of my own money.

    Heck, I remember in the late’80s early ’90s when all bank atm’s were free and usable as long as you were in the right network. My parents used a specific bank account to transfer money to me for college expenses. They’d put in cash in NJ and I’d withdraw with the atm card in AL to deposit in my bank there. Once complete consumer adoption had happened then the fees crept in…