A variety of businesses have begun implementing “cashless” ATMs that give out stored-value cards in exchange for cash.
As reported by Axios, the new cashless ATMs have also been referred to as “cash-to-card kiosks.” In the aftermath of the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic, some businesses have attempted to transition fully to a cashless approach for health and hygiene reasons, with employers citing additional issues such as theft risks and frequent trips to the bank to deposit cash.
Currently, the most common “cashless” locations include sports stadiums, amusement parks, and casinos. Most Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Football League (NFL) stadiums have already installed such cashless devices, as have amusement parks such as Six Flags and Hersheypark. Other facilities that are considering such machines include airports, hotels, college campuses, movie theaters, restaurants, retail stores, and zoos.
“This is a competitive business,” says Naushervan Beg, a development executive at Wavetec, a company based out of Toronto, Canada, which sells cashless ATMs under the brand name Azimut. “Cash carries a lot of friction, right? Many venues are willing to pay for the machines because for them, the bigger pain point is taking the cash.”
Customers use the devices by inserting cash and receiving a plastic card with a pre-set amount of value on it. Most devices do not charge an additional fee, though some do include a $5 fee to purchase the cards. They may be venue-specific, but may also be generic Visa or Mastercard cards; whether or not the cards can be reloaded varies depending on the machine or the venue.
However, several states and cities have passed laws to forbid businesses from doing so, in order to accommodate customers who don’t have bank accounts or credit cards of their own. The Federal Deposits Insurance Corporation (FDIC) says that these “unbanked” Americans account for roughly 4.5 percent of the overall American population.
The cities that have banned such devices include New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. The states of Colorado and New Jersey have also implemented bans on cashless ATMs.