Imagine a machine that makes your dinner reservations, invites your friends to join you at the restaurant and hands you the cash to cover the check. We’re talking about the ATM of the near future.
And that’s just one new application in store for what consumers generally view as trusty “cash stations.”
The future of the ATM looks bright, according to a 2011 Global Industry Analysts Inc. report that estimates banks and retailers will operate 3.9 million of the machines worldwide by 2017, or roughly 1.6 million more than now.
Along with that growth will come “advanced ATMs with superior capabilities,” the report notes. Which gives rise to some questions: What is a superior capability? What will ATMs look like in 2017? What will they offer that today’s machines don’t? ATMs will remain at the forefront of a 24/7 banking concept, and cash withdrawals and deposits will remain their core function, manufacturers and observers suggest.
Indeed, the machines will remain the “21st century automated tellers” by sticking to the main purpose of automated cash-dispensing, but they need to “look and feel contemporary” while offering other payment methods, Mike Lee, CEO of the ATM Industry Association, tells ISO&Agent Weekly.
“Our best insurance for the future in the ATM industry is for the machine to become a payments terminal as well, and not just for (getting) cash,” Lee contends.
Cell-phone access to an ATM represents a service not widely available just two years ago, Lee says. But today, manufacturers often discuss combining the technology behind cell phones and ATMs to create new consumer services, he notes.
As ATM capabilities continue to increase, the ATM banking channel is being used for a wider variety of transactions than ever before, particularly with the addition of intelligent deposit ATMs at many financial institutions. This relieves some of the pressure from the branch channel, and allows ATMs to be a primary channel for many customers.
This theme of increased ATM usage for a wider variety of banking transactions has also emerged in recent Mercator Advisory Group research, including Mercator CustomerMonitor surveys and several reports on the evolving banking channels.
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