Banking: And Now the Cashomat

There are still some things that credit cards cannot buy. So last week the Bank of America, the nation's largest, came to the aid of cash-short consumers by installing an automatic "cash dispenser" outside one of its branches in San Francisco. Anyone with a checking account at the bank can withdraw $25 simply by inserting a plastic identification card and punching a code number on a ten-digit keyboard. The machine verifies the information by means of electronic sensors, then slips the money to the customer through another slot. It keeps the card, which is returned by mail. The withdrawal...