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Freedom ATM means cardless cash

Egg-shaped device to dispense mobile money

A cashpoint machine which dispenses money by connecting with a mobile phone or PDA may not be that far off, according to technology solutions group NCR.

NCR yesterday launched its concept ATM, codenamed 'Freedom', which introduces a new level of functionality to handheld wireless devices.

"This is a concept device," said Richard Maton, marketing manager at NCR. "It is primarily demonstrating that you can use an ATM machine in conjunction with handheld devices to get cash and other [items]."

The egg-shaped cash machine (pictured) can be used with any infrared or Bluetooth mobile device. Software installed on the handheld device transmits the pin number, typed in by the user, to the cash machine which will then dispense money.

In theory, the machine could be used to pay for and collect concert tickets and could take advantage of the broadband mobile connections to download other items, such as MP3 files.

"The way this worked would depend on commercial relationships, which would be discussed once the machine had gone beyond its concept stages," said Maton.

The next issue to address is that of security. "[The ATM] would be designed for an indoor location," said Maton. "It wouldn't hold as much money as an in-the-wall machine, but it wouldn't need to as it will be placed in areas where people need access to cash but where there's lower demand."

The Freedom is part of NCR's ongoing research into how ATMs could be made to work with Bluetooth devices. No date has yet been set for its introduction to the high streets.

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