MasterCard International and Visa U.S.A. have published guidebooks to help member financial institutions educate consumers about the convenience of using automated teller machines for cash advances and other transactions.
MasterCard's "Credit Cards and ATM Cash Access Help Guide" outlines specific ways in which members can increase their ATM cash advance approval rates.
Visa's "Things You Should Know About a Powerful Little Card" is a general information booklet, covering subjects from ATM safety to debit transactions.
Janice Burns, director of customer satisfaction and service for MasterCard, said that the guide is part of the association's ongoing effort to increase cardholder satisfaction.
MasterCard sent out 35,000 copies of its guide to its members last month, and another 35,000 copies were requested.
Nearly $33 billion in credit card cash advance volume was generated at ATMs worldwide in 1993, a 29% increase over 1992.
"We found that cardholders see the ATM credit card cash advance feature as an important benefit in using their card," said Ms. Burns. She added, however, that 35% of those transactions are not approved, mainly because of consumer ignorance.
For example, many consumers either don't remember their personal identification number or don't know that they need one to withdraw money from an ATM using a credit card.
About 90% of denials can be eliminated through cardholder education, according to MasterCard.
Some cardholders are reluctant to use the cash advance feature, because they are unsure of their available line of credit.
MasterCard points out that its members could eliminate this fear by adding a credit card balance feature to their ATMs.
"We emphasize providing a toll-free number for customer service at the ATM, printed on the back of the credit card," said Ms. Burns.
Customers may walk away from the transaction emptyhanded if they become frustrated by not knowing where to call for assistance, added Ms. Burns.
Banks can send statement inserts with information on cash advances at ATMs and give cardholders the option of picking their own PIN in a manner that is convenient for the consumer, like over the telephone or at a branch. "We emphasize providing a toll free number for customer service at the ATM, printed on the back of the credit card," said Ms. Burns.
Visa's 12-page brochure addresses a wide range of topics to help consumers understand the conveniences and features of withdrawing cash or shopping with an ATM card. Tips include where an ATM card can be used and how to obtain one; using an ATM card when traveling overseas, and understanding fees and surcharges.
The brochure also lists a toll-free number which consumers can call to find the location of an ATM when traveling in the United States.
The Visa brochure is geared to help branch personnel with consumer questions, and can be mailed directly to consumers.