• U.S.

Banking: And Now the Cashomat

2 minute read

There are still some things that credit cards cannot buy. So last week the Bank of America, the nation’s largest, came to the aid of cash-short consumers by installing an automatic “cash dispenser” outside one of its branches in San Francisco. Anyone with a checking account at the bank can withdraw $25 simply by inserting a plastic identification card and punching a code number on a ten-digit keyboard. The machine verifies the information by means of electronic sensors, then slips the money to the customer through another slot. It keeps the card, which is returned by mail. The withdrawal is deducted from the depositor’s checking account, along with a 1% service charge. If a card holder punches the wrong code number or tries to use an invalid card, a lighted notice tells him to try again. If he is unsuccessful on the third try, the machine swallows his card. That allows the bank to determine whether he used a canceled card or merely punched the wrong code number.

First developed in Europe, the cashomats are also in use at banks in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York and at the Sumitomo Bank of California. The machines are obviously convenient for after-hours withdrawals. Even during banking hours, they save customers the time and trouble of lining up at tellers’ counters.

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