The ATM turns 50

The ATM turns 50

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the original piece of financial technology, the ATM. For 50 years they have been a fixture of our high streets, transforming the way…
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the original piece of financial technology, the ATM. For 50 years they have been a fixture of our high streets, transforming the way we interact with our banks and even how we shop.
It’s celebrating its birthday in a very different financial landscape to the one it was invented in. Customers have a far wider range of options for accessing their account, with the mobile revolution fundamentally changing customer expectations, and innovation in FinTech means that new ways of managing and accessing money are popping up almost every day.
Despite all of this, the ATM is still going strong. It continues to evolve to meet new opportunities and overcome challenges for banks and customers, and has become an integral part of a bank’s omnichannel strategy. It could in fact be the saviour of the physical bank branch. Not to mention they are popular with customers themselves!
But what could the future hold for the ATM? What do banks need to do to get the best return on investment from these machines?

 

Strong demand for ATMs
Although it may be tempting to see the ATM as being somewhat outdated, the opposite is true. The number of ATMs now exceeds 70,000. We recently sponsored research by ATM Marketplace, which found that 43% of UK consumers use ATMs at least once a week. The same is true across the world – there are currently over 3.1 million ATMs in operation globally and this is set to reach 4 million in the next three years ( source ).

1 in 10 Brits want cash machines which do more than just dish out cash, according to the research we sponsored. As this customer demand for more services increases, more opportunities for banks to increase their revenue will become apparent. ATMs enabled by vendor-independent, scalable and cloud based technology can perform a wide variety of functions, from cash withdrawal in multiple denominations, bill payments and currency exchange to even enabling event ticket purchases – all of which our research showed a clear demand for. They can be personalised to give customers a unique and quick experience and give a consistent brand experience, no matter where your customer is accessing their account from.

 

Bank branch transformation
Changes in consumer behaviour mean that banks need to reconfigure their bank branches to reflect how clients want to bank, but this doesn’t mean that everyone wants to bank in the same way. Choice is key.

ATMs are paving the way for the self-service revolution, with new features being incorporated to allow a more flexible customer experience. However, banks must still provide excellent, personalised customer service. This is leading to the emergence of hybrid digital banks, where customer relationships and experience are at the front of mind – giving them the best of both worlds. The hybrid digital bank branch is centred around many more self-service banking machines for cash and account management, with bank staff acting as customer service helpers and advisors (it’s vital they’re more than just glorified receptionists!). However, technology and automation should never de-humanise or compromise service – this relationship must remain at the heart of the branch.

 

Don’t rely on legacy systems
As the role of the bank continues to evolve, it is essential for banks to ditch their reliance on old technologies and processes and embrace a more flexible approach that will enable them to personalise the customer experience.

Key to this will be adopting new technologies – and the cloud in particular is something that the banking sector must take advantage of. Cloud-based architecture makes managing ATM networks significantly more cost-effective and productive, as well as allowing a seamless integration between IT infrastructure, ATM networks and other consumer-facing channels in your bank. Integrating the ATM with other banking channels is crucial to ensure a successful omnichannel strategy, and the success of future branches will depend on it.

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