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NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- One mobile provider is rolling out a new technology – in world-famous Times Square, no less – that allows companies to send ads to mobile phones.

The bait that lands the fish? The closest ATM machine.

ATM machines have come a long way since their introduction to consumers in the 1970s. Now that ATMs are widely used by financial institutions, they represent a big profit center for banks.

A Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. report show that banks earn around $17.5 billion annually in consumer fees linked to ATMs.

But with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform bill last year, bank ATM fees have been curbed, and consequently, they (along with ATM providers) have to find new ways to make money from ATMs.

That’s where the ATM/mobile ad campaign in Times Square fits into the picture.

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Touch Point Technologies, a New York City-based mobile marketing firm, has inked a pact with FAM Capital Group, a national ATM operator that allows the 16 machines that FAM Capital owns in New York’s Times Square to carry mobile ad technology inside the ATMs.

The mobile ads are automatically transmitted to the smartphones of nearby pedestrians – a number that reaches 250,000 strong on a typical day in Times Square.

“Mobile billboards” represent big business of their own to advertisers. International Data Corporation reports that 491.4 million smartphones were sold globally in 2011, with 158 million sold in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone. Touch Point’s own data shows that 100% of smartphones have the capacity to communicate with other compatible devices – including ATMs with Tough Point’s mobile technology embedded inside – within 300 feet of each other.

There’s no study that shows how many of those 250,000 visitors to Times Square are staring down into cellphones, or how many are within a football field of an ATM machine, but the law of averages would suggest a ton of them.

That’s what Touch Point is counting on, even as unsuspecting passers-by are triggering a mobile ad in their phones as they walk by an FAM ATM unit.

"Times Square is an iconic world landmark defined by its advertisements and spectacular billboard displays that broadcast messages broadly to the area," says Barry Van Scoten, CEO of Touch Point. "The Times Square deployment connects brands with their audiences – who are primed to receive messages and to take action – in a way traditional billboards cannot.”

When consumers do look down in the vicinity of Times Square, advertisers will be waiting for them.