India opens first gold ATM

India opens first gold ATM

A few taps and a customer can get between 0.5 and 100 grammes of precious metal

(Photo: Bloomberg)
(Photo: Bloomberg)

MUMBAI: From the outside, it looks just like a regular cash dispenser, but this is India’s first “gold ATM”, delivering gold coins at the tap of a button in a country where gold is often seen as a safe and preferred investment.

Set up in the southern city of Hyderabad, the gold ATM is the brainchild of GoldSikka and dispenses gold coins that weigh anywhere between 0.5 and 100 grammes.

A 100-gramme coin is worth around US$7,000, making the need to hide your PIN from whoever’s waiting in line behind you even more urgent.

“Instead of going to jewellery showrooms, they (customers) can come here directly and they can get the coins here,” said GoldSikka vice-president Pratap, who gave only his first name.

India is the world’s second-biggest gold consumer. Two-thirds of the country’s gold demand usually comes from rural areas, where jewellery is a traditional store of wealth.

The gold ATM, which began operations on Saturday, can store up to 5 kilogrammes of the precious metal.

On a recent evening, several customers lined up to buy gold coins, inserting their credit cards into the machine and then choosing the weight of coin.

“The entire transaction took less than a minute. So, whoever goes in for investment, I think this is the best way to take gold,” one customer said.

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