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Startup aims to bring free ATMs to New York City

FreeATM launches on Tuesday with 25 ATMs in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Eric Fondren and Clinton Townsend, founders of FreeATM at Pushkin Creperie Bakery Aaron Adler, Metro

FreeATM, a startup in Brooklyn, thinks it has solved a problem that irks all New Yorker — paying surcharges on taking cash out of ATMs.

“Regardless of whether you are rich or poor or where you live, no one likes to pay the ATM fee,” said Clinton Townsend, founder and CEO, of FreeATM.

Starting today, FreeATM will roll out 25 free ATMs at locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, ranging from the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg to Café Olympia in Midtown Manhattan. Another 30 ATMS will be installed by the end of December.

There is no surcharge to use the ATMs, instead the fee is replaced by ads that are displayed on top of the ATMs and the machine’s screen.

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Its been a long road to bring the company to life for Townsend, who first came up with the FreeATM concept in 2008 with co-founder Eric Fondren and launched the company in late 2011, right around the time that he left a reporting position at Reuters.

“There was a period when I didn’t have hot water in my apartment while I was getting this off the ground,” Townsend said. “It took a while, but we’ve created demand in an area that impacts everyone.”

FreeATM will display branded Metro content on their ATMs.

 
 
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