BECU campus ATM replaced by Bank Mobile

becu atm
Matthew Rietveld / The Watchdog

Recently, the Bellevue College BECU ATM near the parking garage was removed. Many students who frequented the machine thought they lost the only way to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money on campus.

The ATM was removed because the five-year contract Bellevue College had with BECU had expired last fall. “BECU was not interested in renewing the contract and notified the college they would be removing the ATM,” said Jennifer Strother, executive director in BC’s finance department. Keeping the ATM at the college would be a bad move financially for BECU, as the ATM business “has become less profitable for financial institutions.” Therefore, BECU did not want to continue the contract.

Another ATM was put in place prior to the BECU ATM being removed. However, the new ATM is from Bank Mobile and was placed in a different part of the Bellevue College campus. “As part of a new contract with Bank Mobile to electronically disburse financial aid using a third party servicer, the college has a new contract with Cardtronics for an ATM,” explained Strother. Unlike BECU, which was just a generic credit union, Bank Mobile is “an account designed specifically for students,” according to the Bank Mobile website. Bank Mobile disbursements provide refund management, a service that processes and disburses financial aid credit to students on behalf of the college.

The new Cardtronics machine was placed in the C building lobby outside of the PALS Center on Feb. 8. The new ATM is indoors now as opposed to being outside right next to the road like the BECU ATM.

The Cardtronics ATM will charge fees for each use. The BECU ATM did not charge fees, which “was likely the reason that the machine became too expensive for BECU to keep on campus,” reasoned Strother. With every use of the Cardtronics ATM, the user will be charged $3 from the company. However, financial aid students who have financial aid disbursed onto their Bank Mobile bank card will not be charged for each use.

“The new ATM might affect students because of the fees,” noted Strother. Students who use the ATM on a regular basis might not want to pay a fee every time the need to withdraw or deposit. However, the fees give money back to Bank Mobile and that keeps the ATM on the Bellevue College campus.

Cardtronics is a Nasdaq-listed company and used by eight of the ten largest United States retailers with ATM programs, according to the Cardtronics website.

“Like all ATM’s, depending on your issuing bank’s card-use policy, your card-issuing bank may also charge to use an ATM outside their specified ATM network,” said Strother. Although this was also true with the BECU ATM, Strother advises students to check with their card-issuing bank what they charge for using an out-of-network ATM.