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In Cash Deserts, Under-Banked Depend on Independent ATMs

February 20, 2018 / Source: Bank News

February 20 — Testimony given by The National ATM Council (NAC) during a recent congressional hearing sited findings from Location Study of ATMs in the U.S. by Ownership, 2018. The study showed that the majority of ATMs in the U.S. are owned by non-bank, independent operators. Moreover, these independent ATMs are often vital for people living in traditionally under-served areas.

The testimony was given in front of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, chaired by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., and referenced the independently-conducted Location Study, performed by geo-economists from the University of North Florida’s Coggin College of Business.

Per the study, there are 470,135 ATMs in service in the U.S., but banks and other financial institutions only hold 191,741 of these. The remaining 278,394 ATMs are independently owned by non-bank providers and merchants.

These independent terminals vary widely in size, scope and geography and can be found in convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, hotels, shopping malls and various other public locations. They also play a vital role in supplying cash and other bank services to people living in traditionally under-banked areas such as low and medium income core urban centers as sparsely populated rural areas. With banks continuing to close branches — some 1,700 between 2016 and 2017 — more and more areas are becoming so-called “cash deserts” and independent ATM operators are gaining even more importance.

“Based on our findings, it is expected that independent ATMs serve areas with higher concentrations of unbanked/underbanked citizens who rely on cash and therefore have a greater need for convenient access to cash,” concluded the study.

The study was commissioned by the NAC board and its membership of independent ATM operators to gather reliable data on the ATM industry and the role non-bank operators play within it.