Utne Blogs > Science and Technology

The Only ATM in Antarctica

by Will Wlizlo


Tags: Science and Technology, Banking, ATMs, Wells Fargo, Antarctica Will Wlizlo,

wellsfargo

Your wallet is empty. You pat down the pockets of your bulky winter parka—nothing. You’re stuck in Antarctica for the next 10 months. Things are not going well for you. Luckily, Wells Fargo can help you out and they won’t even charge a service fee.

Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, which is where the scientists conduct their frigid research, is the site of a Wells Fargo ATM, the only such machine operated on the continent. Most of the ATM’s minor repairs and preventative maintenance are done by trained Antarcticans—servicing the ATM is a ten-month process of planning and physical preparation for Wells Fargo employees. “Anybody that goes to Antarctica has to be cleared with a physical, a dental, and a psychological evaluation,” Wells Fargo’s vice president of ATM banking David Parker told Need Coffee. “Because if for some reason the plane can't get out, you're trapped down there until the next season.”

As we continue to scrutinize the commercial practices of large banking companies, let’s remember that when companies are allowed to make boatloads of money some benefits are passed on to consumers. Universal ATM service, for example, even at the ends of the Earth.

(Thanks, Kottke.)

Source: Need Coffee

Image by TheTruthAbout..., licensed under Creative Commons.