As consumers cut back on cash, bankers, ATM manufacturers and entrepreneurs are experimenting with myriad enhancements for the middle-aged cash dispenser.
They see two-way video connections to remote tellers, cardless mobile cash access machines that people instruct via smartphone and ATMs dispensing lottery tickets, coupons, bus tickets or loaded prepaid cards -- even an ATM that gives cash for old cellphones or spits out a mortgage application.
"I look to see the ATM getting more and more involved," said
Despite the steady advance of credit and debit cards, cash is not going away. There are 418,500 ATMs in place across
Meanwhile, banks and credit unions are seeking to shrink branches and cut costs, while all businesses try to meet customer demands for simplicity and speed.
"I think the ATMs of the future are going to be like the branches of the future," said
The machines, made by
"It doesn't sound like much," Ormseth said. "But people are in a hurry when they want their cash."
Cardless machines also eliminate the possibility of theft by crooks who attach card-skimming devices to machines such as gas pumps or ATMs, which continues to be a major security problem for banks.
Also debuting in
Credit unions have been ahead of the curve on video ATMs, said
Lake State's president and CEO,
"We signed a fair amount of new membership as a result of just the interactive technology machine," Smith said. "There's no question that it has been a component of what is driving new business."
Companies are tinkering with next-generation machines that could hook up with a mobile banking application to know, for example, when you're near a car dealership. The ATM could be "a platform to print out a mortgage application, sign it, scan and complete it without ever having to be in front of a loan officer," said NCR's Bailey.
NCR already is working with several credit unions on technology allowing customers to remotely talk to a mortgage agent or insurance agent.
Other industry players see a world of possibility. ATMs are underused, argues Better ATM Service's Nuttall.
"The ATM is the best and largest self-service financial device on the planet," Nuttall said. "Why isn't it doing some of these other financial transactions?"
In many other countries ATMs function as financial kiosks, he said, allowing people to pay bills, get subway and bus tickets or top off their prepaid cellphone minutes.
Nuttall thinks the U.S. will gravitate to kiosks. As evidence of support for the concept, he pointed to
There are myriad other innovations. ATM providers are "looking hard" at incorporating couponing and advertising via high-definition "video toppers" that provide a constant stream of news, weather and other information, said
Still, not everyone is tricking out their ATM fleets just yet.
"We're still kind of exploring and looking at ways to deploy and reasons to deploy," said
Nonetheless, souped-up ATMs for greater self-service banking are featuring heavily in Branch of the Future ideas.
The general idea is to get customers out of the teller line when it comes to standard transactions, said
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