A new company is helping banks put their automated teller machines to new use.
ATM Tix Inc. of Incline Village, Nev., has developed technology that lets consumers pick up tickets for the theater or other events at ATMs. Together with Tickets.com Inc. in Costa Mesa, Calif., it planned to start the service this month in Las Vegas through selected Bank of America machines.
Consumers using the system must make their orders and choose their seats over the phone or through Tickets.com. They can pick up their customized tickets at an ATM within one minute, ATM Tix said.
Banks have tried using ATMs for ticket delivery but could only print redeemable vouchers, not actual tickets.
Jerry Frazee, president and chief executive officer of ATM Tix, said banks have been trying to offer more services through their cash machines.
"The banks have this huge network out there, and it's like they're flying 747s with only two passengers on them," Mr. Frazee said. "They're very anxious to look at this existing capital investment and to generate new forms of revenue but also are looking toward customer acquisition and customer benefits."
Mark Walter, a management consultant based in Lake, Mich., had a similar view.
"Everybody's trying to look for a way to make money on their ATMs," he said. "And depending on the surcharge outcome, if we lose that income we'll really be looking for more ways to make money on our ATMs."
He said the ATM Tix service might succeed where similar ideas have failed.
"There are lots of things we've tried to do with ATMs over the years, all of which fell flat on their face," Mr. Walter said. "This is a different slant."
Bank of America, the largest ATM owner in the country, is introducing the ATM Tix service at its machines in Las Vegas and other cities connected to the gambling industry. It will then spread the service to other markets, Mr. Frazee said.
Officials of Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America were not available to comment.
ATM Tix said Bank of Hawaii also is planning to offer the service.
"We're looking for location partners," Mr. Frazee said. "We see ourselves having maybe four or five major bank location partners covering the United States. We don't have to be in every ATM."
In addition to being paid for use of their equipment, banks participating in the ATM Tix program will gain access to prospective new customers, Mr. Frazee said.
Mr. Frazee said he plans to introduce his service in Europe and Asia in 2001.