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Small bills, please

If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I’m a skeptic of proposals to replace the dollar bill with dollar coins. As I’ve said before, I personally would rather have a wallet full of bills than a pocket full of coins, and I believe that some of the pro-coin arguments such as the vending machine argument no longer hold water. Given that, you will not be surprised to learn that I consider this development to be further evidence that the dollar coin will remain a pipe dream.

Banks are rolling out ATMs that dispense exact change to the dollar.

Chase and PNC are leading the pack with the new ‘smart’ ATMs.

Chase last year entered the field. During the past 18 months, Chase installed between 350 and 400 of the lower-denomination ATMs, and is expected to double that number this year, a bank official said. The new machines are located within branches and drive-thrus, and can even dispense coins.

“In Houston, we have about five of the next-generation ATMs, mostly in ‘new build’ locations,” Chase spokesman Greg Hassell said. “We’ll add a handful this year as we open new branches.”

The new ATMs are popular because they give customers options to do more things, such as paying bills or buying a pre-paid bank card.

“It’s just part of what we do to try to introduce innovations to make banking more convenient for our customers,” Hassell said. Chase has 215 branches in the Houston area.

Not all banks are doing this, but still. Would any bank roll out ATMs that dispense singles if they thought dollar coins were on the horizon? I think we know the answer to that is “No”. Anyway, as a Chase customer I’ll be curious to see what some of these new features are – though being the dinosaur that I am I’ll probably never use them – and I’m curious to know how many people will actually make a withdrawal that requires singles. Have you ever wanted to do that?

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3 Comments

  1. matx says:

    I attended college in WI in the 80′s, and ATMs aka TYME machines (Take Your Money Everywhere) dispensed withdrawals as low as $5.00. Visiting Madison a few years ago, I found that they still do dispense amounts in increments of $5. I would welcome a choice of denominations, even if it is only $10, instead of the $20 standard I found when I moved to Houston 20 years ago.

  2. Peter Wang says:

    An atm machine that dispensed exact metro fare would be useful

  3. Rich F. says:

    When I went to Rice in the 80s, yes, I wanted smaller amounts. My bank wasn’t part of Pulse or Mpact (?) so I was limted to $20, and they wouldn’t let me take it out if it’d drop me below $100.

    @matx – it’s still not universal in Madison. Most bank and CU machines do it, and but not all, and definitely not the no-name ATMs in restaurants/bars.

    And Chuck, I still want a reliable dollar coin. I hate small bills, and I have change dishes in all the cars, so I’d only need one or two at a time in my pocket.

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