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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Bank puts the 'fun' into 'funds'
Ogaki lottery
Banks are desperate to tempt customers to their machines
Injecting excitement into the faintly dreary business of using a cash machine may seem a tall order, but one Japanese bank is trying its best.

Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank is introducing fruitmachine-style games of chance which run while the ATM processes its more mundane transactions.

Get three sevens, and your withdrawal fee is waived; three golds promise a jackpot of 1,000 yen (5; $9).

The purpose of the gimmick, says the bank's Yoshi Enami, is simply "fun".

Trying harder

There is a more serious intent, however.

Since Japan's economy turned sour a decade ago, its once-complacent banks have had to work harder to attract custom.

And cash machines have been relatively slow to catch on, not least because most banks still insist on charging for withdrawals.

In order to persuade clients to use their machines, Japanese banks have introduced a range of inventive selling-points.

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, for example, has pioneered biometric security technology, and is working on ATMs that scan the veins in a customer's hand.

Rival Resona, meanwhile, has profited by locating machines at unusual sites, such as race courses and noodle bars.

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