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Credit Union 24 has signed a 30-month deal with Allpoint that creates

the nation's largest surcharge-free ATM network for credit

unions.

Tallahassee, Fla.-based Credit Union 24, which operates point-of-sale and ATM networks for credit unions, and Bethesda, Md.-based Allpoint, the nation's

largest surcharge-free ATM network for credit unions and banks with 32,000 machines, signed a longer agreement following what initially was envisioned as a

one-year test.

Ben Psillas, Allpoint president, declined to disclose the agreement's length but says the companies will incorporate Allpoint's ATMs into the Credit Union 24

surcharge-free network of 18,000 machines.

The Credit Union 24 ATM network already includes machines from Minneapolis-based MoneyPass, a surcharge- free ATM network with more than 13,000 machines.

The combined networks will have a total of 50,000 ATMs, Psillas says.

The two companies are calling the enterprise the CU Here

Premium network. "It's only for credit unions," says a Credit Union

24 spokesperson. "The banks have their thing [large surchargefree ATM networks,] and we have ours."

CU Here Premium network is nearly three times larger than Bank of America Corp.'s bank-owned surcharge-free ATM network, which had 18,491 machines at the end of March.

Charlotte, N.C.-based BofA's surcharge-free ATM network is

free to bank customers, but non customers pay a $3 surcharge fee.

Allpoint and Credit Union 24 introduced CU Here Premium in December at the beginning of what was to be a one-year test that ended more quickly because of

the alliance's popularity with Credit Union 24 members,

says Jim Gowan, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Credit Union 24.

"We did not want to start something and then take it

away," Gowan says.

Surcharge-free ATM networks help "tilt the playing field for credit unions," Jim Park, Credit Union 24's president and CEO, said in a statement.

Credit Union 24 pays Allpoint a monthly fee to provide its members surcharge-free ATM access to Allpoint's ATMs, Psillas says, declining to name the amount of the fee. "They are one of our customers," he adds.

Some 1,100 companies belong to Allpoint, and it has four acquirers, including Cardtronics Inc., Allpoint's owner. Houston-based Cardtronics also is the world's largest ISO based on ATMs owned and managed. Cardtronics managed or

owned 32,475 ATMs at the end of March.

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