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MIAMI - If you're traveling on American Airlines from Miami International Airport, leave the cash at home.
The leading airline is moving to a cashless model at the airport, meaning that any transactions for additional fees, such as checked bags or overweight bags, will have to be made with credit or debit cards. The change is effective Thursday.
The airline already has transitioned to cashless airport environments in more than 50 locations, said American Airlines spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello, including in New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Aran Coello said the move will help speed up the check-in process because cash transactions take longer then debit/credit transactions.
'Moving away from cash allows American to assist customers more efficiently. It also reduces the complexity of work for our agents who will no longer have to worry about handling cash, find exact change or close out a cash drawer at the end of the day,” Aran Coello said in a statement. 'In general, our ticket counter agents support the transition to a cashless environment.”
But what if you only have cash?
American is partnering with Ready Credit, a private company that will convert cash into debit cards via 11 kiosks.
American's ReadyStations, which already are installed at the airport, work like reverse ATMs. The machines, with English and Spanish capabilities, convert cash into prepaid Visa debit cards with a value of up to $1,000. Agents will be on-site to help passengers who need assistance.
A fee of $5 is tacked on to each transaction regardless of how much is added to a card. The fee is charged by Ready Credit, not American.
The additional fee may disproportionally affect foreign travelers who choose to bring cash to the United States because of foreign transaction fees imposed on credit cards in their countries of origin.
American is not the first airline to go cashless at the Miami airport. United Airlines has two ReadyStation kiosks at the airport since it converted to cashless in the last three years.
At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, there are 11 Ready Stations serving United Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines.