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ATMs In Antarctica

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the penguin-bankers dept.

Idle 26

Widgett writes "After hearing about the ATMs in Antarctica, I got curious. So I pinged Wells Fargo and got an interview with one of their VPs. The end result is a story about how one services machines at the end of the world, plus — and most importantly — what are the service fees like?"

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26 comments

"Everything is cooler ... (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30768872)

... if it happens in a foreign country."

And that goes double for Antarctica!

OTOH, shouldn't we use the special status of the Ant. zone to experiment with new (or revived) forms of currency? How about gold, or uranium?

What happens if you can't pay your rent in the Arctic -- are you left out to dry? (Now that would be jerky ... and so too would you.)

I wonder if there are ruble dispensers in the Soviet bases, too ...

timothy

Re:"Everything is cooler ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30888088)

I wonder if there are ruble dispensers in the Soviet bases, too ...

Since the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, I doubt it.

cash (1)

jcslone (1720346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30769166)

this gives new meaning to the phrase "cold, hard cash"

Re:cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30852254)

no it doesn't.

What's the purpose of the ATM? (1)

JamJam (785046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772000)

I'm assuming those stationed down there use internet banking rather than use an ATM to pay bills/check balance. So what's the purpose of the ATM, to withdrawal cash? Are there stores down there? cafeteria's to purchase food at? gambling? seriously what are they spending their money on down there. Additionally if the machines are getting serviced once a year then how is the cash recycled back into the machine? Is there an unwritten rule that you must deposit cash back into the ATM so that it's available for the next person to be able make a withdrawal or is the ATM's float large enough that it doesn't run out of cash in a year??

Re:What's the purpose of the ATM? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775884)


Is there an unwritten rule that you must deposit cash back into the ATM so that it's available for the next person to be able make a withdrawal or is the ATM's float large enough that it doesn't run out of cash in a year??

I'd expect that the places you can spend money at have to buy supplies just like any other business, and I'd guess they're not using currency to do so. So the logical conclusion is that there's some person that acts as "banker", and is able to take in bills and credit the stores account. The store can then purchase supplies, and the "banker" puts the money back in the ATM.

Re:What's the purpose of the ATM? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30939696)

Whenever I hear the word activist, I reach for my revolver.

activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist.

Re:What's the purpose of the ATM? (2, Informative)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812620)

The ATM is at McMurdo Station, not the south pole. McMurdo Station is actually quite a large village during the summer with about 1000 residents. They have real businesses just like anywhere else. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMurdo_Station [wikipedia.org]

Re:What's the purpose of the ATM? (1)

smithmc (451373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30900292)

Beer and hookers, same as anyplace else.

Re:What's the purpose of the ATM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30931196)

Yep. We have 2.5 bars here!

Lets play "where's george"! (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783682)

I'm not a numismatist but it'd be neat to have a bill thats been to Antartica and back.

It says in the article that the cash is "recycled", so that means that its rare for new money to enter or leave the system.So lets extend "wheres george" with a specific group.

Can any Slashdotter down at McMurdo start recording serial numbers for the cash that you handle and publish that? Photographic evidence a plus.

Sooner or later one of the staff will come home and spend that and it'll get around.

Re:Lets play "where's george"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30931410)

I am at McMurdo and kept a $1 in my wallet that someone stamped.

"CORNER BAR
MCMURDO_STATION
ANTARCTICA"

I'll probably spend it sometime later in life when I'm really hurting for a pack of cigarettes.

This is potentialy bad... (1)

nicc777 (614519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30795196)

Not sure how US law work but I can think of several countries where they would be breaking the law by recycling the cash like that. The cash is supposed to go to a branch or some sort of cash handling center and there is a lot of accounting that need to happen before cash can just be placed back into the machine. Also, the process of handling money at the machine itself is rather an involved process with various checks and balances and as far as I know can (or should) only be done by bank employees - which I assume is not the case here.

Perhaps some one else that knows a little more about banking can comment?

Re:This is potentialy bad... (1)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30823744)

Per the ATS, exactly how laws are enforced is generally up to the country of citizenship for each individual. In the case of banking in the Antarctic, that could mean that individuals servicing the machine would be subject to the banking laws of their country of citizenship or the laws of the home country for the bank responsible for servicing the machine could apply. The ATS is intentionally unclear on the specifics of law enforcement. It's typically understood that each country has a responsibility to police its own citizens while they're there. The US actually has deputy marshals there to police the activities of US citizens and enforce US law among them.

I think the idea is that with populations being so low and conditions so harsh there, the law of common sense would apply.

Purcahses (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30798490)

So what can you even buy there? I assumed it was all scientific in nature and just a bare minimum to survive. What, did they get a McDonalds and a Walmart?

Re:Purcahses (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30808172)

No, it is for the scientists to pay for their lessons at the "Penguin Flight School of the Antarctic." Penguins know a sucker when they spot one. ;)

Re:hookers :P (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30888680)

They need to have money to pay for the hooker in the bar.

Where are the pictures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30806656)

Oh, I thought this was talking about A2M in Antarctica.

Pawnstars (1)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812658)

Wasn't there a guy on Pawn Stars with a receipt from that ATM?

paramounthotel ha noi , vietnam travel port (-1, Offtopic)

tanict106 (1726378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30843968)

The Paramount Hotel contains 36 beautiful and spacious rooms, with spanning views of the Old Quarter and St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Furthermore, our staff will work tirelessly to ensure that your every need is met, no matter what request you may have while staying with us. Our Hotel is equipped with every modern amenity you may need: air-conditioning, elevator service, total ADSL/WiFi access.http://www.paramounthotel.vn/

Re:paramounthotel ha noi , vietnam travel port (1)

rpresser (610529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30852304)

I hope they have running water. They didn't mention it, so I'm not sure.

Re:paramounthotel ha noi , vietnam travel port (1)

LordAzuzu (1701760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857330)

What you need running water for, when you have an ATM?

Re:paramounthotel ha noi , vietnam travel port (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30873312)

What you need running water for, when you have an ATM?

lets think about it, scientists stuck in antartica needing cash.... i'm thinking hookers and crank, what else there to do down there?

he interviewed a vice-president... (1)

Jetrel (514839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30906674)

I though everyone that worked at Wells Fargo was a Vice-President??

I'm at McMurdo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30931360)

and cannot remember my password... or maybe it's my username I forgot? I never post.

I bank with Navy Federal Credit Union, and Wells Fargo has never charged me a service fee. Just sayin'

I've used both machines, and they do seem different and your usual one in that they suck in your card _EXTREMELY SLOW_ and jerky. The first time I thought the motor was gonna die and that my card would never be returned. Then, it'd have to wait 3 weeks for a new one to get to me by mail.

I withdraw about $60-$100 every payday to buy cigarettes and beer. There is also gambling.

Sadly, tho,
    I HAS NOT FOUND ANY HOOKERS :(

28% of about population of 1200 is female.

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