Pendum
Elan

N.Y.-based MasterCard proudly boasts its customers can now access cash on all seven continents. Anyone at the McMurdo Station research base (summer population of 1,000; winter, 250) carrying a MasterCard debit card can take out U.S. currency, provided their assets aren't frozen. The new ATM in Antarctica conveniently sits inside the National Science Foundation headquarters chalet, not outside on the wall, so customers don't risk hypothermia if the line happens to get long. After all, summer temperatures can dip to 40 below zero. Rumor has it that the NCR 5685 cash dispenser is equipped with a cartridge that dispenses ice cubes, but demand is low and a switch to hot cocoa is under consideration. McMurdo Station is staffed by members of an organization called Antarctic Support Associates of Inglewood, Colo. In addition to providing training to scientists and running the dining hall, they're now charged with maintaining the ATM. "The money put there was already there," says Leeanne Hess, supervisor of accounting at Antarctic Support Associates. "If we need extra cash, we get it in Denver and send it down. Other than that, we get it from banks in New Zealand and they send it down." But what's to buy? "There's a post office, there's a restaurant, a pub, a general store, I believe," says MasterCard spokesman Doug Rozman. The Antarctic ATM, which sends transaction information via satellite, doesn't accept deposits, but you can imagine anyone making money down there must have direct deposit. In a fit of benevolence, Wells Fargo chose not to surcharge non-bank customers. "It's just another example of the evolution of the ATM," Rozman says. "It's an example of cash being accessed, literally, anywhere in the world. There's even a Cirrus cash machine in the Galapagos Islands."  
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