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ATM Messages

For Emergency Use Only.
  [vote for,

For a small (ish) fee, banks should allow a short message to be sent to an account holder, which would appear on the ATM screen when they next use it.

Messages would be just one sentance, so as people do not hold up queues whilst reading them, and the fee would prevent people over using the system.

This would allow for people to be contacted in an emergency, as most people visit an ATM regularly, and mobile phones can be unreliable (loss of signal or switched off).

MikeOliver, May 21 2003


       Email has become unusable, and I hear that in Europe companies are sending SMS spam to people's cell phones (can any 'alfblokes confirm this?).   

       This sorta reminds me of the first reports I heard about Bluetooth: Something along the lines of this new local wireless technology, where transmitters in downtown NY would be all over the place beaming very specific ads into your cell phone or PDA. My 1st thought being, "Why would I want this, and how easy would it be to remove it?"
latka, May 21 2003

       Yeah, I occasionly get spam via SMS....I had a very sneaky company yesturday, they phoned my number and hung up after 2 rings. I, obviously being curious, rang them back wondering who it was, only to be diverted to a call waiting system asking me to register for their services. The cheek!
silverstormer, May 21 2003

       //This would allow for people to be contacted in an emergency//   

       But it's likely to be abused more often than it is used.   



       Mr Smith could be at a competitor's bank. How could the operator know the account holder doesn't have an account there?   

       //, I occasionly get spam via SMS//   

       Never give out your mobile phone number to other than close friends and business contacts, if you can avoid it. If you must, give out a forwarding number that doesn't accept or forward SMS.   

       Some businesses will war dial mobile numbers to produce SMS spam lists. Worse, some mobile phone providers offer email-to-SMS services where the default address is yournumber@domain.com. It's easy for a spammer to attempt every possible number in that provider's allocated blocks of phone numbers at no cost to themselves. The problem is that you pay for the SMS.   

       //being curious, rang them back wondering who it was//   

       Some very expensive per minute call numbers use uncommon prefixes. Some are set for big bucks for the first two minutes and a more reasonable charge thereafter. When you call back, you can get stuck with a call charge in the tens of dollars. You'd be surprised how many people will fall for it. It's deniably legal, they just say they dialed a wrong number and weren't trying to con you.
FloridaManatee, May 21 2003

       So, the message could be:
"Forget the $10, buy me a round"
"Aha! You owe me $200.00!"
thumbwax, May 21 2003

       We've done One Armed Bandit ATM's, right? Where you randomly get a certain amount of money, or a debit?
snarfyguy, May 21 2003

       Heck, I already get ads on the ATMs I use. I still cannot find the right words for this idea: it is so wrong.
DrCurry, May 21 2003

       You all got the wrong idea.   

       Charges would prevent abuse (£1 a message?).   

       If you didn't want to recieve messages from people you wouldn't give them your number (a unique number not related to your account number or PIN).   

       Just because it could be abused does not make it a bad idea... Is email a bad idea? Are telephones a bad idea.   

       //It would only be a matter of time before ads would start showing up on the ATMs// I disagree. It is possible for banks to put ads on their ATMS now but they don't (or if they do, allowing emergency messages would not make a difference).
MikeOliver, May 21 2003

       It wouldn't be a viable spam tool if it cost a dollar per use. And a friend or loved one who needed to contact you in an emergency, would probably be willing to pay a dollar.   

       On the otherhand, if there is an emergency, waiting for the person you wish to contact to visit an ATM wouldn't be a very reliable way to get the message through. It's arguably less reliable than just trying their cell phone, or hiring a plane to do sky writing.   

       The real point is that if one bank started doing it and charging a dollar, it wouldn't get used too terribly much, but some other bank would not be able to resist getting a few pennies per use to allow advertisers to use the system (after all, they'd buy in bulk). Market forces would prevail, and it would end up being used as an advertising tool.   

       What am I saying? It already does get used as an advertising tool. Everytime I go to withdraw some cash, I get an eyeful of how low home equity rates are these days. If you had pitched this as an advertising venue (i.e. the bank sells the spot to other parties, instead of just using the space themselves) you'd have had my grudging, reluctant croissant. As it is, a fishbone and a shudder.
dijontoothpaste, May 21 2003

rapid transit, May 22 2003


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