SAN FRANCISCO, May 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Rather than stuff their cash and checks into ATM deposit envelopes, Wells Fargo customers in Northern California will be among the first in the country to use a new service that eliminates deposit envelopes and converts paper checks into digital images. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced today its plan to convert all of its 400 ATMs in Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties to Envelope-Free WebATM(R) machines by the end of 2006. "We've been piloting Envelope-Free ATMs since 2002 and the years testing the technology has given us a lot of important insight," said Jonathan Velline, head of Wells Fargo's ATM Banking division. "Customers tell us the new ATMs are easy to use and they especially like seeing the check image on the screen and on the receipt. We also earned kudos from our consumer and small business customers for accepting stacks of bills and check deposits at one time, where as other banks require consumers to feed checks in the machine individually -- similar to what you see at vending machines -- which can be too slow and cumbersome." Envelope-Free ATMs offer customers some important benefits: -- Faster and easier ATM deposits -- customers can deposit stacks of bills (up to 30 bills in different denominations) and checks (up to 10) directly into the machine at one time. -- Assurance that checks or cash deposits have been received -- customers can see on-screen check images and a count of each denomination for cash deposits. -- Proof-positive receipts -- customers receive a check image of deposited checks on their receipt and an itemized listing of deposited bills. -- Instant credit for cash deposits -- funds are immediately credited to the customer's account, just as if they made a cash deposit at the teller window. -- Same day credit for check deposits -- the deposit cut-off time has been extended from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (weekdays), giving customers same-day credit for deposits even after the banking store has closed. -- ATM does the math for you -- customers insert cash and a listing of every deposited bill is provided on-screen. Customers insert checks and the character recognition software reads and posts an image of the check and the amount on the screen. -- Saves trees -- by making envelope-free deposits, Wells Fargo customers are helping to reduce unnecessary waste -- potentially saving more than a thousand trees per year and reducing air pollutants by more than a quarter million tons of CO(2) equivalents. "Wells Fargo's first ATM's debuted in 1976 and since that time we have consistently invested in developing new ways for our ATMs to deliver the best level of service to our customers," continued Velline. "We were the first to design and convert our entire ATM network to web-enabled machines, giving customers a more convenient and interactive ATM experience. We were also the first to pilot envelope-free ATMs that accept both cash and checks together." Wells Fargo has been piloting Envelope-Free ATMs since 2002. On October 28, 2004, the same day Check 21 became federal law; Wells Fargo was the first financial institution in the U.S. to transmit a check deposited at an ATM in Hayward, California. Check 21, short for Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, allows banks to use "substitute checks," or a printed copy of the digital image of the original check. The company currently has 60 Envelope-Free ATMs in Northern California. WebATM Machines All of Wells Fargo's 6,500+ ATMs are web-enabled, which means they are faster, easier to use, and can perform more functions than traditional ATMs. They feature six language screen options; customizable fast-cash amounts and MyATM(R) receipt preferences; access up to 22 financial accounts; the highest level of security; and colorful, large font touch-screens that make it easier to navigate from screen to screen. In addition, all of Wells Fargo's ATM locations offer voice instructions for the visually impaired in both English and Spanish. The Windows-based software makes it easier for Wells Fargo to make systems improvements -- such as adding new languages or the ability to accept envelope-free deposits. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $492 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,200 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the United States to receive the highest possible credit rating, "Aaa," from Moody's Investors Service.
SOURCE Wells Fargo & Company