ALTOONA, Penn. – Sheetz, a network of 310 convenience stores spread across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina will stop surcharging for ATM transactions at its stores this year, a company spokesman confirmed. The company is negotiating the details of the move with its ATM deployer now, the spokesman said. One of the goals of the new ATM policy is to use the surcharge-free ATMs as a way of driving traffic through the stores, which already have a reputation for selling inexpensive gasoline. The 7-11 food chain recently finalized a deal with CO-OP Network which will see CO-OP Network cardholders be able to use surcharge-free ATMs in the chain’s more than 5,000 locations. Richard Steckroth, manager of business development for the privately-held convenience store chain, said that Sheetz could not wait until its contract with the ATM deployer Buffalo, New York-based M&T Bank, expired – even though Sheetz has maintained its association with M&T on the surcharge-free basis. “We consider ourselves a very consumer friendly and family friendly firm,” Steckroth said, “and the surcharging stuck in our craw from the very beginning. We realized that we couldn’t eliminate all ATM fees since the cardholders’ own financial institutions might impose a fee, but we could eliminate at least some of them.” Steckroth also said Sheetz would be open to talking to any credit unions which may be close to one of its stores and who might be interested in putting its brand on an ATM in a Sheetz store. CO-OP Network cardholders would also be welcome to get surcharge-free cash in the stores, he said.

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