(NEW YORK) -- ATM users could soon be able to opt out of ATM surcharges by agreeing to watch an advertisement in the same amount of time it takes for a typical transaction.
Clinton Townsend, a 25-year old Brooklyn, N.Y., resident from New Jersey, is the founder and CEO of Free ATMs NYC. He created an ATM that uses targeted advertisements to cover the cost of the surcharge of an ATM outside its network. And, Townsend assures, the transactions don't take any longer than they would without the commercial.
The ad plays during the time the screen's message indicates a transaction is processing, typically 10 seconds or less, Townsend said. Or customers can choose not to view the ad and pay an ATM surcharge of $3.
And at the bottom of the ATM receipt there might be a coupon that can be torn off and redeemed at a local business.
Though Townsend has plans to expand through the New York area and eventually beyond, his first and only ATM for now is in a music venue and bar in Brooklyn called the Knitting Factory.
"I've heard nothing but good things from customers," general manager Bob Reiter, who has hosted the ATM since Nov. 4, said. "I've had a lot of people who come in not for the bar or a show but just to use the ATM. It's been good for business."
Reiter said he has used the ATM himself and found it "pretty simple."
"I didn't find it any more difficult than any other ATMs," he said. "Instead of a screen that tells you it's processing, it gives you an advertisement. I hardly noticed there was an ad there."
Townsend has two ATM models: One has a 10.2 inch main screen through which transactions would be conducted and the short advertisement viewed, and the other would have a 15-inch LCD screen above that shows a looping video advertisement.
A 2008 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta with a degree in finance, Townsend is mum on the company's specific plans, although he said he planned to "aggressively roll out" additional ATMs and hire employees.
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