Finding an ATM when you need one isn’t too much of a problem, but finding an ATM that isn’t going to charge you an arbitrary fee is a little more difficult. The team over at Free ATMs NYC has come up with a solution that will keep everyone happy.

There is a clear trend in the financial industry as more and more industry innovators leverage user information and technology to offer statement rewards as well as merchant funded rewards. One space we have yet to see this trend is with ATMs.

Although there have been some promising steps towards sleeker ATMs, the area as a whole is still pretty archaic. Those clunky machines scattered in shops, bars and street corners were due for an upgrade, and that’s what Free ATMs NYC has set out to do.

We sat down with Clinton Townsend, the founder of Free ATMs NYC to learn a little more about this young company and the future of ATMs in general.

How it Works

It’s pretty simple, the ATMs allow for anyone to avoid paying a usage fee by showing advertisements throughout the transaction process and printing coupons on receipts. Townsend says the concept originated from practices in Europe. “They’ve had free ATMs for a decade. If you tried to put a charge on that service, customers would just boycott the ATM all together.”

Working off the successful program in Europe, Townsend decided to adapt it to an American market. It took two years of development before they were able to launch the first ATM in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last week.

Hyper-targeted Advertising

No one likes to feel inundated with advertisements. But, the cool thing about the ads shown on these ATMs is that they are highly targeted towards the clientele for that area.

For example the first ATM launched is right inside of the Brooklyn Knitting Factory, a hip bar that often showcases up and coming bands, can show advertisements for local bike shops (bikes are a staple in Williamsburg) or offer dollar-off drink coupons. “On top of convenience, we are providing an interactive marketing experience,” Townsend adds.

Previously working with ATMs, Townsend was able to use market data to construct machines tailored to customers. “These ATMs are designed for the cash strapped consumer, market data shows most transactions are between $10 to $40.” These machines are designed for people who find themselves in bars and don’t want to pay the minimum, or restaurants that don’t accept credit/debit.

They also operate exactly like regular ATMs, using RBS WorldPay as their card processor. Free ATMs NYC just use the last 4-digits of your card number as an identifier, while the rest of the information is processed through RBS.

So far, the ATMs will be introduced in Brooklyn and then Harlem with future plans to roll out in Manhattan, “We want to focus on the neighborhood culture first,” According to Townsend. Unfortunately, it may be a while before these babies come to your state. Townsend says their are definite plans to expand once there has been time to build up the brand.

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