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Ads To Replace Fees At ATMs

A New York startup called FreeATM has finally launched its long-promised network of teller machines that replace ATM fees with a short commercial ad, American Banker reported.

The 25 ATMs, located mostly in coffee shops, delis and bars in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, display a 10-second ad in the middle of the transaction — generally filling the time where a customer would normally be waiting for the machine to complete the transaction. “We don’t hold up transaction time,” said FreeATM co-founder and CEO Clinton Townsend.

The ads are shorter than the ones originally planned by the startup, which had expected to use a 15-to-20-second slideshow of up to six ads when the company was launched in 2011.

While advertisers won’t have any access to customer identity or transaction data, they can choose their ad pitches based an ATM’s location, peak hours, average withdrawal amounts or characteristics that point to specific customer demographics.

While FreeATM can eliminate the charge to use its ATMs — which actually belong to its operator partners Everything ATM, ATM Access and ATM Money Machine — it can’t prevent customers’ banks from charging a foreign-ATM fee. But the company expects to be able to set its ad rates so that the traditional $2 to $3 ATM fee will be completely covered, and expects to increase its network to 55 ATMs by the end of the year and expand to Boston, Philadelphia and Washington in the coming months.

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