A South Carolina community bank has signed a deal with American Express Co. that is expected to double the number of free automated teller machines available to the bank's customers.
Amex will put the name and logo of Carolina First Bank, Greenville, on the 40 ATMs it will soon operate in high-traffic areas such as discount stores and gas stations. Carolina First customers, unlike those of other banks, will be able to use the machines without paying fees.
The machines are part of a nationwide rollout of 3,000 ATMs American Express announced last year. Carolina First, with $2.7 billion of assets, is the first bank partner signed up by Amex, a company spokeswoman said.
For some Carolina First customers, this will be a first opportunity to withdraw money for free after banking hours, bank treasurer Mary M. Gentry said. Carolina First, the largest bank based in the state, has about 70 branches throughout South Carolina but operates only 41 ATMs, most of them in branches.
"The big advantage in this is for our customers," Ms. Gentry said. "We have been working hard to expand our number of ATMs. This is a great opportunity to grow our network quickly."
She would not disclose the terms of the deal. Amex spokeswoman Gail Wasserman said her company is not charging Carolina First to put its name on the ATMs.
The 40 machines in South Carolina, like most of the company's 3,000 nationwide, are being acquired in multiple deals announced last year.
The company told American Banker in December that it intended to use the machines to offer its card customers cash advances and as distribution points for other products. The ATMs will feature video advertising, text messages, and discount coupons, the company said.
American Express hopes that putting Carolina First's logo on the machines will gain readier acceptance for the ATMs, Ms. Wasserman said. "We expect the arrangement will give us a local representation and establish a relationship between us and the bank's customers," she said.
Amex will not form similar partnerships in every state where it deploys ATMs, she said. However, "we may do it in a few other places."
The deal is not reciprocal. American Express products and services will not be sold from Carolina First's machines, and Amex customers will have to pay noncustomer fees when using ATMs owned by the bank.