The Arkansas Federal Credit Union has put golden $1 coins in its automated teller machines, and in doing so made it easier to offer its ATM users a higher withdrawal ceiling.
"We wanted to raise our maximum transaction amount from $300 to $500, but we were concerned about the need to more frequently reload our ATMs with cash," said H.C. Klein, president of the $265 million-asset credit union, based in Jacksonville, Ark. "When dollar coins became available, we substituted them for dollar bills in the ATMs," and that freed up a note dispenser for $50 bills.
The 53,000-member credit union has installed the coins - which feature the image of the Native American heroine Sacagawea - in 11 of its 14 Diebold IX ATMs.
These machines, which can scan checks and cash them to the penny, are popular with credit unions, said Thomas Swidarski, vice president of global marketing at Diebold Inc. of Canton, Ohio. Credit unions "have fewer offices and want to be able to [offer] check cashing at all hours," he said. "Banks are starting to do this as well."
The credit union's ATMs have four canisters for coins, Mr. Klein said. The golden dollars are nearly the same size as quarters, so it was easy to put them in the quarters canister.
Though some predict the Sacagawea dollar will flop like its predecessor, the Susan B. Anthony dollar, Mr. Klein said it has been a "hot item," popular for its color and novelty.
The government and the Mint "are putting their marketing muscles into this," including a $42 million ad budget for the coin, Mr. Swidarski said. Some people find it hard to part with the coins.
"I bought a soft drink with the golden dollar," Mr. Klein said, "and the clerk asked me if I was sure I wanted to give it up."