Pros: Stores and counts coins, digital display screen, ATM cards.
Cons: Requires five AA batteries, too many defective units.
The concept of a talking bank is nothing new. Wild Planet is usually known for its cool gadgets and inventions that take a fair bit of use before breaking or needing some type of repair. When I came across this bank when surfing online for holiday gifts I asked my oldest what he thought of it and he loved it. Knowing that the brood are suckers for anything spy related, I ordered a few of them knowing that at least two of them would make good use of them. When they arrived a week or so before Christmas, I did what I usually do with anything that requires batteries I tried it out to make sure that it was in good condition and didnt need to be exchanged. The first one worked perfectly but the second one refused to work even when I swapped out the batteries and checked all the working parts. Frustrated but not defeated, I started looking for these in local stores and found a few more sadly, the end result was the same one that worked and one that didnt. I was pretty lucky to get replacements for the defective ones but not after having to stand in lines and complain to Wild Planet about them. Out of the six banks that I ordered or purchased, three of them were defective or broke shortly after they were set up to me that is a sure sign that the design of the bank needs a little work.
Wild Planet Room Gear ATM Safe Bank
How cool is this? A talking bank that allows you, and only you, access to your cash. You have a nifty ATM card and PIN number that unlock the bank, a nice storage area to keep sensitive items safe and see through display chambers where you can see the coins youve saved up. When I initially ordered this bank over the internet I didnt expect it to be as big as it was so when the box arrived I was a little puzzled. It weighs about three to four pounds and is about eleven inches high. The width is a little over ten inches and the depth a sleek four and a half inches. The keypad is easy to operate and has separate buttons for deposits and withdrawals. This was the perfect addition to the boys growing collection of spy related items and something that I really thought would be a good investment for them besides that it was a bank that would be large enough to store their money without having it stashed all over their rooms.
Deposits & Withdrawals
The bank will accept both coins and paper money for deposits however you will have to manually enter in the paper money amounts using the keypad on the front of the bank. This is something that younger kids might need help with if they arent familiar with decimal points. Once you insert your ATM card and enter your PIN [personal identification number] you can either deposit money or take it out. To deposit coins, slide them into the coin holder one at a time and wait until each of the registers on the digital display screen before adding another, this is the best way to avoid having coins jam up. Use only American coins that are completely flat because if you try to slide one in that is bent, it will get stuck in the feeder or when the unit tries to count it. For paper money, slide it into the compartment on the top of the unit and add the dollar amount on the keypad. There is a running total on the display screen that adds or subtracts money based on your actions. To remove coins press the denomination you want on the front tubes where the coins are stored or open the side panel to remove paper money. Taking coins out can be a long process so make sure you arent in a hurry to get them, press the buttons slowly and firmly to avoid having them jam when they are released into the side compartment.
With this you get two ATM [automatic teller machine] cards that are used to make a deposit, check your balance or make a withdrawal. They are about the size of a standard credit card and have a few small holes punched n them. The ones that we have had havent slipped into the slot easily so you really have to push them in with a little force. You get two cards so make sure you tuck one away in case one of them is lost. They are pretty thick and sturdy and will take a lot of abuse but I dont think that theyll hold up well if left in a pocket and tossed in the wash. If you have more than one bank, make sure you label them so you know which card goes with each bank. I suggest writing the childs name on it with a Sharpie marker, when it starts to wear off a little you can write over the area again without any trouble.
There is an emergency access panel on the side of the bank that can be used in case the cards are lost or damaged. This is a nice feature but not something that you really want kids to use on a regular basis since it will eventually break, rendering the bank useless. If you do lose the cards you can get into the bank through the back of the unit to remove all the contents but you will need a Phillips screwdriver, some patience and the instruction sheet. This is one of the many reasons that you should make sure a child is responsible enough to have the card in their possession. For younger kids you might want to tape it up on the wall and have them ask to make a deposit or withdrawal.
I was really disappointed at the instruction sheet that came with this. I wasnt expecting a huge book but some troubleshooting would have been nice. There are diagrams for setting it up and placing the batteries in the back but other than that you have to pretty much figure things out if you hit a snare. It walks you through the basics of how to make a deposit or withdrawal, how to manually enter paper money and how to get your funds out if you lose the card or it gets jammed with foreign coins. The sheet is needed when you have to open any of the emergency panels so make sure that you tuck this away in a safe spot. Your best bet is to make a copy of it and keep it with warranty papers so you can find it if needed. If you cant find your instruction sheet, you can call Wild Planet customer service for troubleshooting help.
This unit requires the use of five [yes, five] AA sized batteries. They are locked in place under a plastic case complete with a protective screw to prevent the little ones from getting in to it. This is also where the reset button is located so when you first start up the unit, you need to press this for about five seconds to sort of kick start it. The batteries are arranged in a weird fashion not the usual one up, one down pattern so make sure you look closely at the raised illustration under the battery panel. I had a real hard time getting the first two units to work and eventually had to return them for replacements this was after I ruled out the batteries and positions of them.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $15.00 - $20.00 for this unit at retail stores or online. You may be able to find the older styles for less but they too had issues with the ATM cards not working properly or coins getting jammed in the sorter. For $20.00 I expect to get something that functions and will count money out of the six [yes six] that I purchased, three of them needed to be returned. One was dead out of the box and the other two stopped working shortly after the PIN numbers were set and a few coins were added. Im not sure if there was a problem with the design of the bank or just a bunch that didnt make it past quality control but three out of six isnt exactly a great track record. This would be worth the suggested retail price if you get a good one that doesnt break right off the bat so make sure that you are dealing with a store that will allow you to make a return on something that breaks or is defective.
Things To Know
• The coin door that pops open on the side of the unit isnt very secure and opens whenever it feels like it. To me this was a huge design flaw and really compromises it I can see this getting broken easily if it gets bumped or dropped when the door is open.
• The small pull out drawer on the front of the bank is a nice place to store money that the bank cant accommodate. Things like dollar coins, fifty cent pieces, foreign money or coins that you would rather keep separated from the rest. Since this cant be opened until the ATM card is inserted and the PIN number is entered, kids have a place to stash things but there isnt a lot of room in there so dont get too worried.
• There is no volume control on the bank so you will have to deal with the rather monotone voice that announces your actions. To me this is another design flaw, who wants everyone within earshot to know what you are doing? The voice isnt that loud but its loud enough that you wont want to use it at night or when someone is sleeping.
The Bottom Line
This bank is a great idea but has a few too many issues with it for me to completely recommend it to anyone. If you are willing to put up with these shortcomings then by all means, check it out but make sure you hold on to your receipt in case you want to return it or its defective right out of the box. If you are planning on ordering this online, make sure you read the sites return policy and see if you are supplied with a postage prepaid sticker. I purchased two of these online and one of them was defective and needed to be returned thankfully I ordered from a site that didnt require me to pay the return shipping on a defective item. If you are willing to deal with a unit that breaks or doesnt work and doing the exchange thing until you get one that does work then by all means, check this bank out. It is a great bank when you get one that works but more than a little defective when you get a lemon.
As always, thanks for the read!
~^V^~ Freak ~^V^~
© 2003 Freak369
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