NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Starting next year, you may be able to visit a non-bank ATM without having to fork over a fistful of dollars in fees. There is one catch, however: you’ll have to watch a commercial while you wait.
Free ATMs NYC, which was founded by 25-year-old Clinton Townsend, began testing a fee-free ATM in Brooklyn last month and plans to launch several thousand of the advertiser-funded ATMs throughout the country by the end of next year.
And, if this small company proves successful, experts in the industry think the idea could catch on at a much bigger scale, potentially changing the ATM landscape.
Free ATMs NYC has already signed on two advertisers and is in talks with some advertising firms and several national companies, according to Townsend. These advertisers would, in essence, cover the fee that ATMs normally charge, saving consumers a lot of money.
Americans have spent about $4 billion on fees charged at non-bank ATMs this year, paying an average of $2.10 for each transaction, according to TowerGroup.
One caveat, however, is that Free ATMs NYC can’t stop the bank you belong to from charging you an out-of-network fee, which average about $1.25 a pop.
How it works: Townsend plans to put the ATMs in cafes, supermarkets, hotels, bars and malls where banks aren’t conveniently located nearby.
Up to six companies can advertise on each ATM at a given time, and ads are shown before, during and after each transaction.