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From the October-01, 2008 issue of Credit Union Times Magazine • Subscribe!
Tellagent Rolls Out Second Generation All-in-One Kiosk
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Attendees of the New Jersey Credit Union League Annual Meeting last week got a glimpse of the new Freedom Centre eBank Tellagent is offering as a way to serve the underserved and create income for credit unions.<p>The full-service kiosk was created by Tellagent together with Pantel Systems Inc. to combat check cashers and provide a safer option for those not in the financial mainstream. In addition to check cashing, the machine offers ATM cash dispensing, bill payment prepaid phone and wireless cards and gift cards, all without an account. Tellagent, founded in 2000, is a CUSO of Paragon Federal Credit Union in Montvale, N.J.</p><p>"The word is empowerment," Pantel's Eric Kash said. He pointed out that the average low-income family makes $18,000 a year and gives $4,000 of that up to check cashers in fees, which "breaches the poverty line."</p><p>Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union, which is piloting the machine in its Harlem branch, has a local woman who is Latino standing by the machine to assist with transactions and talk to those in line about the benefits of joining the credit union. LESPFCU is offering the check cashing for free if users open an account for a $1 minimum.</p><p>Two other kiosks have been placed in mid-sized grocery stores in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Coming soon, Kash promised grocery store courtesy cards will be able to be swiped to obtain the coupons often given at check out from the shopper's previous trip. The benefit to the grocery store is to provide dynamic inventory management.</p><p>The kiosks are also equipped with a video display monitor for advertising. For example, if the store sees some perishables about to exceed their sale date, they can simply put them on sale via the monitor.</p><p>According to Kash, debit and payroll cards with direct deposit, money orders, money transfers, Internet banking, and shared branching are all in final development.</p><p>The machines were designed for ease of use and can support up to 16 languages, including English and Spanish as standards.</p><p>There are many benefits to the credit union in addition to expanded membership opportunities, from the noninterest income gained from advertising on the monitor to the funds made on the back end for phone cards and gift cards. One of these kiosks can also effectively save the credit union money at $49,000 a machine, which can replace 2.5 employees at approximately $163,000, Kash said. Kiosks are also available for lease.</p><p>Richard Rays, president/CEO of Paragon FCU, touted the machine as tool for strengthening select employee group relationships. Paragon has Mercedes Benz within his field of membership and he could place one of the kiosks there to better serve those members.</p><p>He explained that the new eBank unit is the second generation of this machine; currently 25 of the older model are dispersed around the country, and, in addition to the three new ones already deployed, 10 are on order.</p><p>Rays said in a statement, "Tellagent is helping to level the money-service industry playing field because the Freedom Centre eBank will help to better serve unbanked consumers who have been paying far too much of their hard-earned wages to fee-laden money service businesses."</p><p>--firstname.lastname@example.org</p><p> </p><p> </p>
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