Want protection from paper currency devaluations? Or how about an unforgettable, quick gift? Consumers in Madrid can now use a unique automated teller machine to fetch gold bars of up to 10 grams and coins with custom designs in exchange for cash.
The ATM, known as "Gold to go," is the brainchild of Thomas Geissler. The German entrepreneur and CEO of Ex Oriente Lux in Reutlingen first tested his cash-for-gold vending machine in Germany before taking it to consumers with deep pockets and traditional ties to gold in Abu Dhabi in May.
First ATM in the Emirates
The first gold ATM, located in one of the city's top hotels, the Emirates Palace Hotel, will be followed over the coming weeks with several more machines in top sites in the United Arab Emirates.
Now gold enthusiasts in Europe are on Geissler's radar, too. Spain is among the first of several targeted markets in Europe, including Austria, Germany and Switzerland. In Madrid, the gold dispenser is located in the five-star Westin Palace Hotel, a favorite stomping ground for the rich and famous.
Soaring demand for gold
At first glance, some people could mistake the six-foot tall, gold-leaf-finished machine as some tacky casino attraction. But the machine is actually packed with some high-tech, including a computer that updates gold prices every 10 minutes, a video surveillance camera and an ID scanner.
All inventory is monitored with RFID (radio frequency identification) tags.
The gold ATM comes as demand for the precious metal soars, with investors scrambling to seek a safe haven from the global economic turbulence.
Besides the well-healed, the "Gold to go" vending machine also hopes to attact less deep-pocketed consumers who wish to give special gifts. The smallest gold coin is available for 40 euros.
Author. John Blau
Editor: Susan Houlton