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ATMs In Antarctica 26

Widgett writes "After hearing about the ATMs in Antarctica, I got curious. So I pinged Wells Fargo and got an interview with one of their VPs. The end result is a story about how one services machines at the end of the world, plus — and most importantly — what are the service fees like?"


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ATMs In Antarctica

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  • ... if it happens in a foreign country."

    And that goes double for Antarctica!

    OTOH, shouldn't we use the special status of the Ant. zone to experiment with new (or revived) forms of currency? How about gold, or uranium?

    What happens if you can't pay your rent in the Arctic -- are you left out to dry? (Now that would be jerky ... and so too would you.)

    I wonder if there are ruble dispensers in the Soviet bases, too ...


  • this gives new meaning to the phrase "cold, hard cash"
  • I'm assuming those stationed down there use internet banking rather than use an ATM to pay bills/check balance. So what's the purpose of the ATM, to withdrawal cash? Are there stores down there? cafeteria's to purchase food at? gambling? seriously what are they spending their money on down there. Additionally if the machines are getting serviced once a year then how is the cash recycled back into the machine? Is there an unwritten rule that you must deposit cash back into the ATM so that it's available

    • Is there an unwritten rule that you must deposit cash back into the ATM so that it's available for the next person to be able make a withdrawal or is the ATM's float large enough that it doesn't run out of cash in a year??

      I'd expect that the places you can spend money at have to buy supplies just like any other business, and I'd guess they're not using currency to do so. So the logical conclusion is that there's some person that acts as "banker", and is able to take in bills and credit the stores account.

      • Whenever I hear the word activist, I reach for my revolver.

        activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist. activist.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tsalmark ( 1265778 )
      The ATM is at McMurdo Station, not the south pole. McMurdo Station is actually quite a large village during the summer with about 1000 residents. They have real businesses just like anywhere else. See: []
    • by smithmc ( 451373 ) *

      Beer and hookers, same as anyplace else.

  • I'm not a numismatist but it'd be neat to have a bill thats been to Antartica and back.

    It says in the article that the cash is "recycled", so that means that its rare for new money to enter or leave the system.So lets extend "wheres george" with a specific group.

    Can any Slashdotter down at McMurdo start recording serial numbers for the cash that you handle and publish that? Photographic evidence a plus.

    Sooner or later one of the staff will come home and spend that and it'll get around.

  • Not sure how US law work but I can think of several countries where they would be breaking the law by recycling the cash like that. The cash is supposed to go to a branch or some sort of cash handling center and there is a lot of accounting that need to happen before cash can just be placed back into the machine. Also, the process of handling money at the machine itself is rather an involved process with various checks and balances and as far as I know can (or should) only be done by bank employees - which
    • Per the ATS, exactly how laws are enforced is generally up to the country of citizenship for each individual. In the case of banking in the Antarctic, that could mean that individuals servicing the machine would be subject to the banking laws of their country of citizenship or the laws of the home country for the bank responsible for servicing the machine could apply. The ATS is intentionally unclear on the specifics of law enforcement. It's typically understood that each country has a responsibility to pol

  • So what can you even buy there? I assumed it was all scientific in nature and just a bare minimum to survive. What, did they get a McDonalds and a Walmart?

  • Wasn't there a guy on Pawn Stars with a receipt from that ATM?
  • I though everyone that worked at Wells Fargo was a Vice-President??

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun