The Future of ATMsCould ATMs Be the Bank of the Future?
The History of ATMs
In 1967, the world saw the first Automated Teller Machine in the United Kingdom, which is what we know today as the ATM. It was silver, with “BARCLAYCASH” in big, bolded letters along the top. It had two rows of numbers to input your six-digit pin and a place to insert a paper check to request cash. We’ve come a long way since then, with ATMs scattered throughout cities, both in banks and businesses, and it appears they won’t be leaving us anytime soon.
How often is physical cash being used? Critics have long noted that with mobile payment apps, debit, and credit cards, it could bring an end to cash payments. Looking at current research, however, this clearly isn’t the case. According to a 2014 study done by the Cash Product Office of the Federal Reserve, here are some #CashFacts:
- Cash is still the most used form of payment in retail, accounting for 40% of all transactions.
- Cash is the most used payment for purchases under $50.
- Low-income consumers are the biggest users of cash.
- 40% of people 18-24 mainly use cash as their preferred form of payment.
- Households earning under $25,000/year prefer to use cash to pay bills over any other form of payment.
- Cash is the preferred back-up form of payment.
Cash is still heavily relied upon in our everyday market purchases, which means that cash dispensers continue to be a valuable asset to local communities. This might mean the future of ATMs is a lot closer than it seems.
ATMs vs. Bank Branches
Society today finds people increasingly on the go. We have drive-thru dry-cleaning services, online grocery ordering, and delivery service companies that will bring you any type of food you want at any time of the day. More and more, people don’t want to do their banking at their local branch, waiting in line for however long just to speak to a teller for a few minutes. As ATM technology gets more advanced, trends show that larger numbers people are conducting their banking needs at their local ATM. In addition to simple cash withdrawals, ATMs now allow people to deposit checks, transfer money, apply for loans, pay bills, and even onboard new customers.
Thinking Globally, Acting Locally
For some communities, both domestic and foreign, having a local bank branch isn’t an option. There simply isn’t the patronage to support a full-service bank branch. As a result, ATMs are catching on like wildfire. Cash currency is needed the world over. And, especially for locations where a physical bank branch isn’t available, having an ATM to use for your banking needs is essential.
ATMs of the Future
We’ve all become used to ATMs that have minimal screens, hardware, and simple interfaces, such as small number pads with eight buttons only. Then what will futuristic ATMs look like? Well, in reality the ATMs of the future are already here.
Long gone are the prevalence of simple, single-function ATMs. Advances in technologies have allowed ATMs to follow digital trends over the years. These days most ATMs have touch-screen computers running on Microsoft’s Windows 10. This means that they can utilize facial recognition technology, remote video, and smartphone app integration. It also means that as digital technology advances, ATM interfaces can follow suit and evolve to become more and more user-friendly and increasingly multi-functional.
Fingerprint-based technology has already been added to ATMs in India and soon will make its way to Bahrain. As financial institutions continue to improve security efforts, some are moving away from a card-based system. With the use of fingerprint-based technology, ATM cards may be used less and less. Instead of inserting a card into an ATM machine, fingerprint technology allows customers to use their fingerprint to initiate any banking transaction. The user logs in to the ATM using his/her fingerprint and then enters a pin code in order to attain access to their account. Since every human being has a unique fingerprint, this technology makes ATM usage more safe and secure. Additionally, it eliminates the need to carry your ATM card around with you or worry about losing that card. With fingerprint-based technology, access to your bank account will quite literally be at the end of your fingertips.
Smartphone Integration, NFC, and ATMs
You’ve misplaced your bank card and need cash quick. However, what once was a major inconvenience now has a simple solution – accessing your bank ATM with your phone. The new feature enables those missing a bank card to access their bank account using their smartphone. The bank app will give them an access code, available for 30 minutes, to be entered into the ATM. Once entered, they’ll be able to withdraw cash, as they normally would. This feature is only available on bank-owned ATMs, like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank.
In fact, a lot of new ATM features are tied to smartphones. Customers are able to withdraw cash using the Apple Pay and Android Pay apps. Additionally, Citibank is taking available technology to a new level, experimenting with a new iris scanner in their ATMs, similar to FaceID on the new iPhone X.
If you’ve been to a Starbucks drive-thru recently, you may have noticed a friendly face staring right back at you, ready to take your order. Bank of America is releasing a similar feature for their ATMs. Teller Assist will allow video conferencing with an actual teller during extended business hours, allowing you to withdraw exact change, request a loan, or cash checks, right from the ATM.
What does cryptocurrency have to do with an ATM? Some ATM models now have software in their machines that allows a standard ATM to be turned into a cryptocurrency ATM (for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin). ATMs with this new technology not only allow the purchase of cryptocurrency but also the sale of cryptocurrency for cash. According to this CNBC article, there are already almost 2,000 bitcoin ATMs in the United States. Coin ATM Radar, an online tool that tracks cryptocurrency machines, states that cryptocurrency ATMs can currently be found in 77 countries.
Like cryptocurrency, access to international cash is increasingly in demand in the U.S., especially at travel hubs such as airports and cruise terminals. With breakthroughs in technology and hardware, ATMs will progressively have the ability to dispense foreign currency.
New Customer On-boarding
It used to be that to open an account at a financial institution you had to fill out a paper application and either send it in via snail mail or take it to your local branch. Then came online applications, making new customer on-boarding simpler. Now, however, everyday ATMs have the ability to onboard new customers right on the spot. As part of the cash withdrawal process, ATMs can now ask customers, “Will you be purchasing a new home in the next 6 months?” If the customer answers yes, the ATM can direct them to a home loan application that can be filled out right then and there, thereby gaining a new mortgage loan customer. Or the ATM could advertise, “Receive a $200 bonus for opening a checking account!” with a link to be able to fill out a new customer form. By removing the need for potential new customers to make the time to visit a branch in order to open an account or apply for a loan, financial institutions are gaining new and more customers.
Now more than ever, ATMs are forging the way for the future of mobile banking. The technology is constantly improving and changing, adding smartphone compatibility and cameras to add the human experience. Plus, EMV technology is making ATM withdrawals safer and will continue to do so with the growing number of more compliant ATMs.
The future of ATMs is here! Consider checking out our models of ATMs, where you can purchase, lease, and rent the model that closest fits your needs. And make sure you ask us about our Free ATM Placement Program!