This story is over 5 years old.

The Death of The ATM

ATMs are slowly going the way of the pay phone.
​Man at ATM. Image: ​Sascha Kohlmann​/Flickr

​You're not just drunk and frustrated, it really is getting harder to find an ATM that doesn't charge ridiculous fees.

The largest bank in the US, JPMorgan Chase & Co, released its fourth quarter earn​ings supplement this week, which included details of its systematic reduction in ATMs. According to the report, at the end of last year JPMorgan had 18,056 ATMS, down from 20,290 at the end of 2013.

Most of these machines were nixed due to the bank cutting ties with ATM supplier Cardtronics, according to Bloo​mberg, eliminating machines in some pharmacies and convenience stores.

JPMorgan isn't the only bank retiring its machines. In 2012, Bank of America—the country's second-largest bank—cut its ATMs from 18,000 to just ove​r 16,000, mostly from gas stations and malls. And of the nearly 500,000 ATMs around the country, less than half of them are owned and operated by banks, according to the Nat​ional ATM Council. The rest are operated independently and, while often in convenient locations (like the bar), ding users with hefty fees.

But you can't necessarily blame the big banks for scaling back the number of machines they have on the streets when you consider that we're using ATMs less and less. The number of ATM withdrawals in the US decreased 0.9 percent per year from 2009 to 2012, according to a report from the Fe​deral Reserve—though it notes the amount taken per withdrawal has increased 2 percent per year over the same time period, which suggests people are taking out more per trip to cut down on fees.

Not to mention, apps and online banking have removed a lot of reasons to trek out to an ATM. Most banks let customers deposit checks just by​ snapping a pic with their phones, so more and more people are opting to use their phone for their daily banking needs. More than half of Americans already bank online, with more than a third banking on their phone,according to Pew Re​search. And the numbers are growing: JPMorgan's report showed their active mobile customers increasing by 22 percent over the last year.

Of course, the one good reason to go to an ATM is pretty much the only reason left: cold, hard cash. If you have the forethought, you can take out a stack during a rare visit to your bank and dole it out to yourself as needed. Otherwise, you'll have to get used to wandering around hopelessly searching for the lowest fee machine like the rest of us. At least until we all convert to Bitcoin.