Bank of America today announced that it is rolling out chip technology on many of its consumer credit cards. But customers who want to use them for a cash advance at a Bank of America ATM may have to look harder to find one than they used to.
The bank will include the chip technology in all newly issued Merrill Lynch credit cards, U.S. Trust Accolades, BankAmericard Travel Rewards, BankAmericard Privileges, and Virgin Atlantic travel credit cards. The bank also will upgrade existing customers in these card programs who have been identified as international travellers.
Cardholders can request a chip card as an optional feature with a number of additional Bank of America and affiliated brand credit card lines. Customers will be able to request a chip card at a banking center or via phone beginning this week, and online later this year.
Earlier this year, the bank began rolling out chip-and-PIN credit cards to corporate and commercial clients in the U.S. This followed last year's release of chip-and-PIN cards to corporate and commercial clients in Europe.
"The new chip-enabled cards will improve convenience and security of customers' transactions when traveling abroad," said consumer and small business products executive Susan Faulkner. "We want our customers to have the best possible experience while making purchases with their credit cards anywhere in the world."
On the same day the bank made its chip card announcement, Bloomberg reported that Bank of America has pulled 9 percent of its ATMs, opting out of lease renewals with Valero Energy Corp. and mall operator Simon Property Group Inc. The move comes as part of an $8 billion cost-cutting campaign by Bank of America.
Bank of America spokesperson Anne Pace told Bloomberg that two considerations were behind the non-renewals: first, the machines were limited to cash-dispensing; second, they were located in venues that were not accessible 24/7.
"It's about convenience and access, that's what the customers are looking for," Pace said in the article. "People aren't banking 9 to 5, they are banking when it's convenient for them."
With 16,220 remaining ATMs as of June 30 (that's according to Bloomberg; a bank press release puts the number at 17,250), Bank of America still operates the nation's second-largest retail bank network, behind JPMorgan Chase & Co. (18,132), but ahead of Wells Fargo & Co. (12,200) and Citigroup Inc. (10,000).
The move by Bank of America has created market opportunities for other deployers. Cardtronics snapped up 950 long-term Valero placements, according to a February news release. Simon, which has 325 mall locations declined to tell Bloomberg what company had picked up the Bank of America contracts, but said the number of placements remained the same.
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