Nowadays, cashless transactions are more commonplace, but experts believe that cash will still be the main mode of payment for many years ahead. The ATM, as a source of instant cash for many consumers, would still therefore be in use.
But ATM transactions are set to receive fiercer competition from the conveniences offered by mobile and online banking. Experts believe that ATM software could indeed benefit from ‘channel integration’ and the offering of new services designed to fit more demanding consumer needs and preferences. For instance, kiosks are becoming more popular – and can become a replacement for ATMs in the future. Kiosks may be more widely used due to their mobility, interactive abilities, and cost-effective operations. In a few years, kiosks may even feature videos and advertisements, and may also be equipped with biometric readers.
ATMs can also be augmented by location-search technology. Cardtronics, Inc. has acquired LocatorSearch LLC, which would serve to help consumers locate the closest cash machines, wherever they are. LocatorSearch’s free downloadable Allpoint Network app is available for Android phones, iPhones, and Blackberries.
If ATMs are to survive the challenges brought about by all the other means of acquiring cash or paying for purchases, banks are encouraged to increase the range of services offered as well. Among these, industry experts believe that customers can benefit from services such as dynamic currency conversion, lottery and event ticket dispersal, and even bill payments through ATM machines.
An Indian bank, HDFC Bank, has launched a service wherein customers can pay their income tax through an ATM. Improving ATM accessibility is also another option for banks, as is the case with ATMs with audio guidance capabilities, suitable for the visually-impaired clients. Security is also a concern, and banks in Japan have started to gain traction with finger vein authentication technology – where users’ finger veins are recognized by ATMs.
Near Field Communication technology, instead of being a barrier to the continued survival of ATMs, could be integrated with ATM capabilities in such a way that customers can simply hold their mobile phones next to ATM machines to make transactions. Contactless applications like these have been in the Japanese market for some time and are expected to develop and expand even more.
The ATM industry is said to be thinking ahead. These initiatives could serve to boost the continued use of ATM machines, which will, in turn, benefit the end-consumer in more ways than one.