Bells, Whistles, And Reliability

Despite the emphasis on trouble-free ATMs, there's no shortage of bells and whistles on this year's models.

For example, features on the Interbold "i" series include:

* Check imaging.

An image of a deposited check can be displayed right on the screen - a screen that can support graphics in 16 colors.

* Check processing.

The new ATMs can cash a customer's checks to the penny, using a coin-dispensing technology.

* Friction-pick dispenser.

Replacing standard vacuum-pick technology, such dispensers dole out notes 50% faster, at a rate of six per minute. To boot, the friction-pick is more reliable because it has fewer moving parts.

* Increased speed.

An advanced Intel microchip dramatically improves transaction speed. Interbold said the average transaction time has fallen from 30 seconds for older machines to 17 seconds for the new series.

NCR's new family of teller machines also has the Intel 386 chip enhancement.

Meanwhile, to ensure access to the disabled, machines from NCR Corp., InterBold and Fujitsu Systems of America Inc. - whose combined sales account for over 98% of the ATMs in the U.S. - also meet the standards for people in wheelchairs established by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The new ATMs are also compatible with synthetic-voice software, which can audibly guide a visually impaired customer through a transaction.

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