Major U.S. Banks Aim at Killing ATM Cards

by PaymentsJournal 0

One day, your iPhone or Apple Watch could actually start dispensing money.

It’ll be your own money coming out of an ATM, but it’s still cool.

Officials at Bank of America and Wells Fargo have dropped hints that they have their eyes on incorporating Apple Pay into near-field-communication-equipped teller machines. Neither company is prepared to say when or how widely this will happen, but considering they’re two of the largest banks in the United States, this could be a big deal.

“We’ve been working on the technology that allows us to hook to digital wallets, leveraging NFC on mobile phones to replace the card at the transaction at the ATM,” Wells Fargo’s head of ATMs Jonathan Velline told TechCrunch. “Right now the wallet that we support is Android Pay. But we’re also looking at lots of different mobile wallets and evaluating which ones are going to be appropriate for our customers. We’ll likely add more mobile wallets throughout the year.”

As banks and other financial institutions look beyond ATM and debit cards for purchases or use at ATMs, other options are being considered. These reviews are the typically the result of consumers’ concerns about mag-strip-equipped cards. Some FIs are evaluating alternate ATM withdrawal methods, including the use of QR-code-based methods (under such names as ATM prestaging, cardless cash access, and mobile cash withdrawal) or NFC. Some FIs, particularly larger banks and credit unions) are looking to leverage the capabilities of NFC-enabled smartphones beyond point-of-sale devices to potentially include ATMs. It’s likely that these FIs will be monitoring usage and adoption of NFC-based wallets as a leading indicator for potential demand for NFC use in ATMs.

Overview by Ed O’ Brien, Director, Banking Channels Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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