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Wells Fargo introduces 'Web-enabled' ATMS

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 2 May 2000 08:22:33 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <200005021522.IAA06450@netcom.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Wells Fargo introduces 'Web-enabled' ATMS 

>From Time to Time: Nando's in-depth look at the 20th century 

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, Associated Press 

SAN FRANCISCO (May 2, 2000 9:26 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) - Wells 
Fargo on Tuesday rolled out a new breed of automated teller machines that 
show movie previews to consumers as they prepare to make a withdrawal or 

The movie previews represent a glimpse at the future of ATMs. Wells and other 
banks are increasingly adding bells and whistles as they try to convert the 
money machines into multimedia centers. 

Some consumers worry the gadgetry and sales gimmicks will distract customers, 
leading to longer ATM lines. 

Glenn Lie of San Francisco said he's not interested in the movie previews, 
advertisements and news headlines that, starting Tuesday, will be displayed 
on four of Wells' ATMs. 

"I just want to get my money and get out of here," Lie said. "I'm concerned 
that these things might make lines longer. That's why I use (ATMs) instead of 
waiting in teller lines." 

The new machines are designed to duplicate the look of a personal computer 
screen by offering appealing graphics and icons that open new windows with a 
touch of the finger. 

Operating the new ATMs doesn't require new skills, even though Wells is using 
powerful new technology, including Intel Corp.'s Pentium III microprocessors, 
to upgrade its ATMs. The ATMs aren't connected to the Internet, but Wells 
calls them "Web-enabled" because the technology is now in place that could 
eventually let customers buy products at the terminals. 

Users just slide in an ATM card, punch in a personal identification number on 
a keypad and then follow the instructions on the screen. 

The difference, however, is that movie previews will play continuously on the 
machines until a customer steps up and begins a transaction. "Gladiators" is 
showing this week. 

As the customer starts banking, advertising will pop up on the screen, and 
customers can choose if they want more information about a product. Later, 
Wells may allow advertisers to sell merchandise. 

For news junkies, the latest news headlines and sports from MSNBC will scroll 
across the bottom of the screen at all times. MSNBC eventually will provide 
stock market and weather reports on the ATMs, too. 

"We are beginning to see a blurring of delivery channels," said Robert 
Chlebowski, a Wells executive vice president overseeing the San 
Francisco-based bank's new ATM project. "The online banking experience and 
the ATM experience are starting to converge." 

Three of the four ATMs that are scheduled to go online are in the San 
Francisco Bay area and one is in Los Angeles. Wells plans to convert 650 of 
its 2,856 ATMs in California and 170 ATMs in Arizona by the end of this year. 
Wells' remaining 5,500 ATMs in 21 states will be upgraded over several years. 

Wells says it isn't raising its ATM fees to pay for the new machines. But the 
bank expects to recoup its investment - and beyond that, to make money - with 
advertising revenue from movie studios and businesses. 

The company won't say how much the new ATMs cost, but the price of a 
top-of-the-line ATM can range from $30,000 to $40,000. 

Consumer activists remain wary of Wells' launch of a more sophisticated ATM. 

"If banks want to add this new technology, they shouldn't be gouging 
consumers who just want to get their money," said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer 
program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "Customers who 
just want some cash shouldn't be asked to subsidize these super ATMs." 

Banks have been adding new features to their ATMs for several years as the 
industry seeks new ways to generate revenue. Wells has sold stamps, marked up 
from their face value, since 1994 at their ATMs and ski lift tickets since 
1997. Earlier this year, Bank of America introduced 17 ATMs in Las Vegas, 
Nev., where visitors can pick up tickets to local entertainment events. 

"In this business, nothing surprises me anymore," said Janice Simoneau, 
executive director for the ATM Industry Association, a Rensselaer, N.Y. trade 
group. "There are so many things that you can do on an ATM now besides just 
getting money." 

Wells customers who got a chance to use the new ATMs during a test period 
last week gave the machines mixed reviews. 

"It's pretty cool, and it's all right to use when you are indoors somewhere," 
said Ken Jones of Daly City, Calif. "But it's not something I would want to 
use on the street because all this stuff might distract me and I might not 
notice who was approaching me from behind." 

The typical ATM transaction averages 45 seconds. Wells officials say their 
research shows customers won't spend more time than that at the new machines. 
To move customers along, the ATMs will beep at customers once their cash has 
been dispensed. 

"We recognize this is not an online banking experience where you are sitting 
down in your bathrobe," Chlebowski said. "We understand most ATM transactions 
are conducted on the street by people who are standing up and just want to 
get their cash." 
Received on Tuesday, 2 May 2000 11:22:59 UTC

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