Catalyst

They’re spewing gold!

Sravanthi Challapalli | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 03, 2016

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Bluestone set up two ATMs during Diwali so that customers could buy coins at their own convenience

They have produced cash, newspapers and a host of other things. Now in what’s probably a first in India and a rarity across the world, ATMs are dispensing gold coins. Just two of them, though! Online jewellery business Bluestone has set up two ATMs to dispense gold coins during the festive season.

“Buying gold during Diwali is a ritual most Indians follow. There’s always a last-minute scramble to buy gold during the festival. So we thought, why not instant gold?” says Arvind Singhal, Chief Operating Officer, Bluestone. The firm worked with bank ATM vendors to create machines that would accept both cash and card payments to make it convenient for customers.

One ATM is located in Bengaluru’s Forum Mall in Koramangala, and the other is in Select Citywalk mall in Delhi. These ATMs have been in the works for three months. Bluestone is selling 24-carat gold coins of 1 gm, 2 gm, 5 gm, 10 gm and 20 gm through these machines. The coins come in a pack with the quality certification included.

Prices are the same as on Bluestone’s website, following RBL’s benchmark, says Singhal. On Dhanteras day last week, over 100 people bought coins from the ATMs. Of course, many wondered if they were cash-vending machines, but the company has a “promoter” positioned at the ATM to explain, he adds. They only sell coins and no jewellery, as people like to see jewellery before buying it.

Bluestone invested Rs 10-12 lakh in each machine. On whether they will be permanent installations, Singhal said the amount of business they do in the non-season, non-occasion times will determine that. The company incurs rent for the mall space, and has to pay the promoter too.

Singhal claims this is the first gold ATM in India, and says he has heard of one in Dubai. A German company has installed gold ATMs branded Gold To Go at a few spots across the world, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, the US and Europe.

A couple of years ago, Amul had set up ATMs for milk in Gujarat.

Now, here’s a non-exhaustive list of the unusual things you can buy from ATMs and vending machines somewhere or the other in the world: Cupcakes, condoms, cosmetics, pizzas, doughnuts, books, burritos, bouquets, miniature art, prescription drugs, flower seeds, mashed potato, T-shirts, cup noodles, rice, guitar strings, LEGO, pet food, umbrellas, footwear, jeans, last-minute gifts at airports, bicycles on rent, lettuce.

Published on November 03, 2016
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