ATMs everywhere and not an ATM to be found

TCF Bank has more ATMs on campus than Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank combined.

Kelly Gulbrandson

When students enter college, one of the many choices they need to make is which bank will win their patronage.

How fast they can get to their cash can be a deciding factor.

Students often need cash for lunch, coffee, copies or other expenses. Three of the major banks near campus – Wells Fargo, TCF Bank and U.S. Bank – have ATMs across campus. But depending on your location on campus, some ATMs are hard to find.

The three banks have a contract with the University to have ATMs on campus. TCF Bank, which has the largest contract, has 17 ATMs on campus, compared to U.S. Bank’s eight and Wells Fargo’s five.

Patty Henneke, U.S. Bank ATM manager, said five of the bank’s eight ATMs on or near campus are through contracts with the University and the other three – in Dinkytown – are under private contracts.

When the University has a place open for an ATM, it informs banks in the area about it and allows them to bid on a contract, she said.

Henneke said she’d like to see more of a presence of the bank on campus.

“Some of our ATMs are in remote places and we don’t have the ability to be as visible as we would like,” Henneke said.

For customers of banks with fewer ATMs on campus, it can be harder to find one when they need it.

Lina Bryants, a retail buying and business management senior and Wells Fargo customer, said she doesn’t use cash much, but has a difficult time when she needs to make a deposit to her account.

“I’m on the St. Paul campus a lot and the closest Wells Fargo ATM is in Coffman,” she said.

TCF Bank’s contract with the University, which was renewed in 2005 and included the naming rights to TCF Bank Stadium, allowed the bank to extend its on-campus ATM lease for 25 years. It also will allow it to have more branches on campus, according to a press release.

Jason Korstange, media relations specialist for TCF Bank, said another “unique” part of its contract is that it can extend account services through students’ U Cards.

“That is the one issue the other banks don’t have,” Korstange said. “This allows us to offer our checking and savings accounts to students.”

According to state regulations, there are two fees charged to people who use the ATM of a bank different from the one they have an account with.

A surcharge fee is issued for handling the transaction, and can’t be controlled by the bank. The second fee is a “foreign” fee the bank charges to cover the fees it incurs by transferring money, Henneke said.

Bryants said when she has been on campus and needed cash she often has used other banks’ ATMs, and was charged $4 in fees.

Wells Fargo, which has the least number of ATMs on campus also doesn’t have a branch on campus. Wells Fargo spokeswoman Richele Messick, said the bank is pleased with its presence at the University, with an additional ATM installed in Willey Hall in December 2006.

She said the bank has had a contract with the University since 1994, which is renewed every few years. Messick said, however, that it is looking into re-evaluating students’ needs.

Henneke said U.S. Bank customers are automatically enrolled in the MoneyPass system, a nationwide network of ATMs in which any bank could participate, all without surcharges.

She said the bank joined the network as a way to reduce fees for customers.

Some students are reluctant to switch because of their loyalty to their bank.

Bryants said she has thought about switching to U.S. Bank for its increased availability on campus, but she hasn’t because of her loyalty to Wells Fargo.

“I have a familiarity with Wells Fargo because I have been with them for seven years and they have great customer service,” Bryants said.

Finance senior Molly Huber said she is pleased with her TCF account and hasn’t had any problems with it. She also has her account linked to her U Card, she said.

She said she also has a loyalty to her bank.

“When I was 16 and started working, my parents had an account and so I opened one too,” she said.