atm

Forget the $20 minimum: ATMs dispense $1 and $5 bills

Jan. 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM ET

Courtesy Chase /
A Chase investor presentation slide shows the new $1 and $5-dispensing ATM in action.

Even if you only have a dollar to your name, Chase and PNC want you to be able to take it.

The banks are in the process of deploying a new generation of ATMs that, among other features, will let you take out bills as low as $1 and $5. Chase's even have the ability to give out coins.

In recessionary times, it's perfect for draining your account to the last drop!

"We are always looking for ways to upgrade our ATM network with new functions that will make banking easier for our customers," PNC spokesperson Marcey Zwiebel told TODAY.

Just like how airlines have saved their customers, and themselves, time by installing machines that let customers print out boarding passes at the airport, for Chase, the new ATMs are more like full-service kiosks that supplement traditional tellers, company spokespersons told TODAY. Besides $1 and $5 bills, they'll give out the usual $20s, along with $50 and $100 bills.

The machines will be found inside Chase bank lobbies, vestibules, and drive-thru areas. Slides from a February 2012 investor presentation (PDF) say the the purpose of the "Self-Service Teller" is that it "allows customers to perform 90%+ of current teller transactions via self-service."

The ability to cash checks made giving out exact change to the penny necessary, a company spokesperson told TODAY. The presentation noted that checks cashed via a traditional teller line dropped 40% in the six-location pilot tests after the robo-teller was introduced, which "allows more efficient staffing."

So, long customer lines can get swift service, without the need to pay more human tellers.

Fees for using the machines will be the same as at traditional ATMs, free for customers and $3 for out-of-network transactions.

Company spokespersons told TODAY that Chase has deployed about 400 of the machines in the past year-and-a-half, and PNC has upgraded over 3,600 to dispense $1 and $5 bills. Both banks to double those numbers by year's end. Meanwhile, the lowest bill Bank of America ATM's spit out is $10, while Wells Fargo doesn't have any ATMs that dispense $1 or $5 bills.

"We're always looking at ways to make banking at our ATMs more convenient for our customers," Bank of America spokesperson Tara Burke told TODAY.

Perhaps they'll be inspired.

Let's just hope they don't hire HAL as the personality for the new automated tellers. Then if you try to switch banks he'll never open the lobby doors for you.

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