Ad-Supported ATMs Expand in NYC

A small start-up called FreeATM Inc. and the Barclays Center stadium of Brooklyn, N.Y. are partnering to bring ATMs with no fees to New York City.

The Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets and oft-used concert venue, will have seven ATMs on Sept. 28, including one which provides access to the public who are not attending an event.

Instead of paying an ATM fee, typically $2 or $3 when you use a machine outside of your bank's ATM network, FreeATM machines are supported by advertising.

Telecommunications company MetroPCS and online review site, Yelp, have signed up as an advertiser to support the fee-less ATMs.

Clinton Townsend, CEO of FreeATM Inc., said the FreeATMs can provide cash and convenience to the over 3 million expected visitors at Barclays Center.

Townsend said the partnership with Yelp, a national company that serves hyper-local markets, was a strategic move.

"This gives us the opportunity to leverage both the national and local brands to use this platform," he said.

Townsend said he was approached by Barclays, as opposed to in part because his company is also a local business.

The ATM ad plays during the time the screen's message indicates a transaction is processing, typically 15 seconds or less, Townsend said.

This is FreeATM's second location to host its machines after introducing its prototype in a music venue and bar called the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Nov. 4, 2011.

Townsend said 5,000 people have used the first ATM since its launch, one-third of whom are repeat-customers, saving about $1,000 a month in fees.

"When people knows this is in their community, they are coming back time and time again," he said.

Some people have used the ATM up to 8 times in a month, he said.

The Barclays Center ATMs are expected to distribute $5 million in cash in its first year.

The ultimate goal of the company is to expand to the rest of the country, he said.

But next up, the company is planning to host its ATMs at five more locations in New York City, including Manhattan and additional spaces in Brooklyn.

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