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CLARIN

Overused Argentina ATMs Proving Woefully Unreliable

An ATM in Buenos Aires
An ATM in Buenos Aires
Martin Grosz

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina's "inflation effect" is being blamed for the "intensive" use of ATMs in the country. Or at least the attempts to use them, because dispensers are increasingly breaking down or spitting out receipts instead of cash.

For an increasing number of customers, what they are mostly good for is putting people in a foul mood. "We are seeing increasing difficulties in the use and availability of ATM tills in Argentina," a study by consultants Quantum Finanzas says.

It appears that inflation, currently around 40%, is prompting people both to withdraw more cash and to use dispensers more frequently, though Quantum points out that banking transactions have been increasing over the past few decades anyway.

Because authorities haven't printed anything larger than the 100-peso bill so far, the average number of bills being withdrawn in transactions is 13, compared to an average of 4.5 elsewhere in the world. And while 90% of the 16,000 bills stuffed into every ATM every day are 100-peso bills, Argentine banks are currently unable to meet demand.

The "intensity" of their use is apparently wreaking havoc on the lifespan of ATMs, forcing banks to replace 4,000 of the country's 16,000 machines every year.

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