CTA Ventra flap: 65 ATMs out for Fifth Third Bank; 65 in for PNC Bank

Last week the CTA terminated a contract for Fifth Third Bank's ATMs at 60 CTA locations because the bank refused to allow free ATM withdrawals with the Ventra debit card.

Meanwhile, days later, the CTA welcomed PNC Bank to install 65 more ATMs at CTA locations. It already has 15 locations on CTA properties. Under the agreement with CTA, PNC will pay a fixed rate amount of rent and a percentage of transaction sales to the CTA and a monthly electric charge. The five-year agreement is estimated to generate $5.2 million.

Including the new ATMs, the CTA will have a total of 154 ATMs. Last year revenue from ATMs generated $1.4 million for the agency.

Customers with Ventra cards have the option of activating the debit card feature Ventra. The CTA made some changes to the fee structures for the Ventra debit card, making the debit deal a little better.
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  • This is a case when I can honestly say, a pox on all 3 houses.

    Formerly, the people asking "do you have any money" would only hang out at the TVMs. Now that they have more opportunities, why would anyone use an ATM or show an ATM card in a CTA station? They now know that you have money.

  • Jack is spot on. Who in the world would use an ATM at a CTA station? The CTA stations are primed for crime. I have seen so many people get purses stolen and pockets picked in my years traveling on CTA. Fifth Third Bank was SMART to get out of this!

  • In reply to Tracy K:

    However, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the reason Fifth Third got out. And as indicated by the Tribune, the stress was on free withdrawals, as Fifth Third was not willing to waive its ATM fee:

    The CTA is requiring that any customer using its Ventra card as a debit card “be able to get free withdrawals at ATMs on CTA property,” said Tammy Chase, a spokeswoman for the transit agency. “Fifth Third was the only bank that did not agree with that.”

    Getting back to the point on which we agree, the users of the debit card have the right to get ripped off by MetaBank and then to have their money stolen.

  • I think it's a nice additional feature for CTA users, free withdrawals from your debit card. I don't see myself using it but then I'm solidly middle class and have lots of options but I am still fine with having one more. Me, I can't speak for any folks (I suppose there must be a few) for whom this is their only electronic card. My guess is that they are a lot more savvy and street smart than I am and would be aware of the dangers. I think it's called living in the city 101. If you can't handle it them move back to the farm or even the suburbs.

    But remember, the city has been getting safer and safer each year for the past twenty years. Just ask the cops. They are hip to the statistics and studies.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    Since you say you won't be using the Ventra prepaid debit card, do you show your PNC or whatever bank card at a station and withdraw money there? Or do you like go to a grocery store ATM or bank lobby to withdraw cash, which is said to be the safer course?

    Has the CPD eliminated the "solicitors" from the train stations? I'll bet that the street savvy persons are the "solicitors."

    And given the prior debate about MetaBank charges, the users are still going to be charged for the withdrawal unless the ATM is also in MetaBank's network, just maybe not twice if they use an ATM on CTA property. They might be street savvy, but certainly financially ignorant, although not more so than if they used the prepaid debit cards issued by currency exchanges (which I certainly can't see how they stay in business).

  • In reply to jack:

    As a tangential aside south side bank lobbies and walk-up enclosed ATM-only lobbies are very unsafe. I avoided opening an account at the Citibank on the NW corner of 87th St and Stony Island (the geograhically closest big bank) because it had daily victims.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    So since it's not you it's ok for the CTA to prey on the poor and uninformed.

  • PNC rushing in to take on this CTA concession could be a case of "thieves being comfortable around other thieves" - I had a friend suffer several unauthorized withdrawals when he opened an account at a PNC branch in the far northern suburbs. PNC suffers from the "last pick of employees" syndrome that afflicted CVS Pharmacy when it moved into the Chicago market.

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