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Japanese bank turns ATMs into one-armed bandits

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A Japanese bank is trying to get more punters to use cash tills by building in a fruit machine-style game. ATMs from Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank, due to go into service next month, will offer a game of chance to pass the time while customers wait for cash to be dispensed, Japan's Mainichi Daily News reports.

The ¥105 ($1) withdrawal fee of punters who get three sevens - a one-in-10 chance - is waived while those who ring up three golds in a line win a pay out of ¥ 1,000 ($9). There's a one-in-500 chance of this jackpot payout. It's not exactly scintillating but in a land where pachinko is a national pastime it might persuade the Japanese - who often carry round large amounts of cash - to flash the plastic more often.

"When it comes to ATMs, financial institutions eagerly compete to make them convenient," an Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank representative told the Mainichi Daily News. "Banks are part of the service industry. We want people to enjoy a 'feeling of excitement' with a sense of fun."

Japanese banks have come up with a variety of gimmicks - such as incorporating advanced biometric technology and locating machines in unusual location such as race courses - in an attempt to persuade customers into using their cash machines, the BBC reports. These efforts have had mixed success so far and it's tempting to think dropping steep withdrawal fees might be a more effective tactic. ®

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