NCR Answers InterBold With New Line of ATMs

In the wake of InterBold's claim of 99% reliability for its automated teller machines, rival NCR Corp. is planning to launch a new line of ATMs today.

The new NCR 5600 series ATMs boasts a number of features that increase "up" time, including built-in micro-processors that identify and report on potential mechanical problems in the unit and replenishment modules that allow paper and currency to be changed without taking the ATM out of service.

However, Dayton, Ohio-based NCR, which is competing neck and neck for domestic ATM business with InterBold, stopped short of offering the money-back performance guarantee made by InterBold.

Announcing its new ATMs last month, InterBold promised to refund portions of its service contracts if the new machines were up and running less than 99% of the time. InterBold is a joint venture of IBM and Diebold Inc.

NCR Tops Ratings

Based on the findings of Data Pro Information Services Group, a Delran, N.J.-based research division of McGraw Hill Inc. that rated NCR's ATMs as the most reliable systems in the industry, NCR officials assert that such guarantees were unnecessary for their new ATMs.

To substantiate that claim, they point to a six-month backlog of orders.

Cost Held Down

"They already want them faster than we can make them," said David Sacco, marketing director at NCR Corp. "It seems our past performance is a kind of guarantee in and of itself."

NCR has also added several new functions besides enhanced availability, and they have done so without substantially increasing costs.

Prices for the 5600 series start at $18,000 for a basic cash-dispensing module and range up to $38,000 for more sophisticated through-the-wall systems. According to NCR officials, those figures are only slightly higher than the prices for the previous generation of ATMs.

Perhaps the most important feature of the newer models is that they are all made easily accessible to people with disabilities. Every machine meets the federal guidelines for height and reach necessary to accomodate people in wheelchairs. And NCR has also developed an optional voice feature to assist customers with vision impairments.

These features are important because with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. financial institutions will be required to make their automated teller machines accessible to people with disabilities.

NCR has also extended the graphical capabilities of its ATM screens to allow institutions to create customized marketing messages. For an additional $3,500, touch-sensitive screens are also available.

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