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February 28, 2017

Fifty years on, the ATM is still developing

First inaugurated by the comedy actor Reg Varney in 1967, the ATM is still with us. According to the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), there are approximately three million ATMs across the globe. However, one of the mainstays of modern banking is not resting on its laurels and still developing. Patrick Brusnahan writes

By Verdict Staff

First inaugurated by the comedy actor Reg Varney in 1967, the ATM is still with us. According to the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), there are approximately three million ATMs across the globe. However, one of the mainstays of modern banking is not resting on its laurels and still developing. Patrick Brusnahan writes

Launched by Barclays’ in its Enfield Town branch, the automated teller machine has gone from strength to strength. From simple withdrawals, to deposits, to security checks, features are constantly added to the service. Some say that the right ATM could even replace a branch.

NCR has launched the SelfServ 80 Series of ATMs which are set to do just that. According to the firm, it will ‘redefine the banking experience and change the way consumers interact with the ATM forever’. Hefty claims.

Rachel Nash, director for financial services at NCR, tells RBI: “The new 80 Series family is really quite groundbreaking in terms of how we can deliver services to consumers. Just from an aesthetic feel, it’s very modern and very tablet like, not your typical old grey box, which really does fit into what customers expect from a digital experience and how they want to interact and transact with every organisation. It’s a far more modern consumer experience.”

Video banking

Features of the new hardware include an advance 19-inch multi-touch display and built in video banking, which is seeing ‘a lot of interest’. This could be crucial in replacing branches as research from NCR stated that 80% of the transactions typically completed inside a physical branch could be complete through a live video teller at an ATM.

“What we’re really trying to think about is how we can position self-service as part of the whole experience. You may have a customer that is perfectly happy to serve themselves and interact in a 100% self-service way and this enables that,” Nash explains.

“But there may be a time they might need local and in-person assistance, which is part of the tablet banking solution, to alert a member of staff or remote assistance. These aren’t bolt-ons as they have been in the past. It has helped streamline the way staff members help customers.”

A problem with an ATM replacing a branch is that if customers want branch services, they would surely visit a branch.

Nash says: “I can see a branch n a box type environment working in a retail outlet. It would be very convenient for people to pop into a branch even when one isn’t there.

“In some cases, absolutely, if they want to go to a full service branch, they should. We’re not saying one solution fits everything, we’re just providing a flexible platform that allows different types of formats and deployment to suit the customers’ needs.”

Is the ATM takeover imminent? Not as soon as one might think, as there are issues with widescale deployment.

“We do have a lot of legacy across the globe. Any organisation is not going to replace everything overnight; it is going to be gradual. It will take a while,” adds Nash.

So how has the ATM changed in the last 50 years?

Nash concludes: “Things that we have tried in the past, such as video banking, were cumbersome, clunk, and difficult to implement. Now, the advancements in technology mean we can incorporate mainstream technology across all platforms. It’s far easier now.

“The other thing that we’ve seen is that none of us ever envisioned the idea of an iPhone, a touchscreen in your hand. How customers started to interact in that space has changed how they wanted to interact in our space. It’s another digital touchpoint. One of the biggest lessons we learned is that the change in mainstream consumer technology is impacting the solutions that we deliver to market.”

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