EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – The $800 million American Eagle FCU has become the first financial institution in the country to offer account-to-account money transfers between financial institutions from an ATM, the NYCE Corporation has announced. The East Hartford, Connecticut-based CU began offering the service two weeks ago after upgrading its ATM network to allow for the capability. A credit union in Brooklyn and a bank in Massachusetts were the recipients of the first transfers, both of which took place through the NYCE Network. Currently only financial institutions that are among the roughly 2,200 NYCE Members can access the service, which will eventually see all members being able to receive the transfers and some members upgrading to be able to originate the transfers. In order to access the service, an American Eagle member will use their ATM card at an American Eagle machine and initiate a normal account transfer transaction, explained Richard Martinelli, marketing director for the credit union. However, once at the file transfer screen the member will have the option to transfer money directly from his account to another account at an institution which is a member of NYCE, he continued. In order to initiate the transaction, a member will need the recipient's 16-digit ATM card number, Martinelli said, but the recipient's personal identification number or expiration date will not be required. Once the numbers are entered, the transfer takes place in real time and the funds should be available immediately. "We began investigating this opportunity a couple of years ago after members began to ask for it," Martinelli explained. "Think of how easy it will be for members to be able to get money to other members' accounts directly, without having to handle cash or use one of the wire transfer services," he said. The credit union anticipated working with its e-banking vendor to be able to offer the same service from members' online banking screens as well. The cost to the member will be about the same as an ATM transaction, Martinelli said, and the income to the acquiring institution should be about the same as well. However, the cost question gets trickier when it comes to what it costs for an institution to upgrade its ATMs to be able to originate the transactions. Niel Axe, Director of Emerging Network Payments for NYCE, explained that the actual cost of the upgrade will have to be calculated between the credit union and its ATM vendors and service providers, he said. "The good news is that we have contacted virtually all the ATM vendors and established that there are no real technical problems outstanding," Axe said. "So whenever a credit union wants to get up and running with this, it should be able to." NYCE estimated that half of its member financial institutions are ready right now to accept the transactions and that the remaining half will be made ready over the next few months. -


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