Have you had a go at offering financial services yet? Automated teller machines come in many flavours – full service, self-fill, free-standing, inserted into brick walls – so there should be something to suit every shop. Andrew Clark, who runs my local garage just off London’s Southend Road/North Circular, had looked at all the possibilities and had come to a number of conclusions. “I don’t want one in the store – there’s not enough space. I don’t want self-fill either. I want someone else to look after it.”

Andrew, who makes a point of noticing what his competition is up to, observed that the hole-in-the-wall variety had not worked for some and there were boarded-up holes to prove it. He had also seen a Travelex pod at a nearby Texaco station and fancied one of them. He rang me for a contact so while I was at it I got some lowdown on how these operate. They are interesting because not only are the pods very striking, they are also very secure. Commercial director Nick Cockett told me: “I believe we are one of only two operators to use an ink dye system. The machine will spray an indelible ink on the notes rendering them useless. Where we have had an attack, both the money and the machine have stayed in place.”

The red and blue pods will be putting in more appearances since Travelex has a target of 1,000 for the UK and there will also be pods on some of the majors’ forecourts in their own livery. Travelex doesn’t charge for the machine and they pay the site operator based on transactions. Nick sums up the benefits thus: “A pod ATM requires less space than a through-the-wall and costs less, whereas internal machines are less successful because they attract fewer customers. So we are offering the best of both worlds – an outside machine, costing less and attracting more customers.”

If you want more information ring John Burton at Billericay on 01277 632639.