photo-home.jpgStopping at the ATM to get cash? Why not pick up a gift card to your favorite store while you are at it? If you think gift cards have become ubiquitous, it about to get even better (or worse depending on who you ask).

According to this story, Better ATM Services, a Mesa, Arizona-based company, has developed technology that would enable ATMs to dispense prepaid gift cards like currency. So, instead of getting cash, you can choose to buy a gift card and the ATM will dispense the gift card via the ATM’s cash tray.

The new technology was showcased last week at the KioskCom Las Vegas Expo and is generating a buzz. The largest of ATMs would be able to hold about 1,000 credit-card sized gift cards. According Better ATM Services, banks, shopping malls, grocery stores and restaurants can now offer prepaid gift cards through ATMs without a need to reconfigure the ATM’s hardware. This means ATM owners can offer this at zero additional cost.

If you needed any more proof that gift cards are here to stay, there you have it. It won’t be long before an ATM will ask you “Would you like Cash or a Gift Card?” Click here to see a video from the company about this new ATM capability.

Readers, what are your thoughts about this new technology? Post your comments in the comments box below.