Reducing face-to-face banking interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published April 7, 2020


Health organizations say physical distancing is vital to reducing transmission of the novel coronavirus. For banks and credit unions, this means limiting face-to-face branch interactions. Where those can’t be eliminated, making sure interactions are quick, secure and hygienic is important to everyone from consumers and small businesses to branch staff, cash in transit companies, engineers and others. 


Remote teller technology

Using the ATM to provide teller support via video link enables customers to access the support they need but minimizing risk for both parties. Based in call centers – or potentially at home during this time – these tellers can provide exactly the same assistance as those in the branch, with more than 90% of routine banking transactions possible via this channel. Transactions such as cash withdrawal, check deposit, balance transfer, account enquiries and loan payments are just some examples of the convenience this technology offers. This takes the pressure off of front line staff, whether in terms of risk of infection or, as staff themselves need to isolate, enabling branches to remain open in extended hours with reduced staff numbers.


Drive-up or exterior walk-up self-service

One emerging trend is the increase in the use of off-site banking automation technology. Banks still need to offer basic banking services like cash withdrawal and or cash/check deposit alongside digital channels. With drive-up ATMs, consumers can carry out a wide range of routine transactions without the need to leave the comfort of their vehicle.

Three percent of the world’s self-service banking terminals are drive-up ATMs, and 15% are located installed in a wall on the exterior of a branch* and these channels are increasing in popularity. In the United States, some major banks have closed as many as 20% of their branches, with others only offering drive-up banking to reduce face to face contact – highlighting the importance of drive-up or exterior walk-up ATMs at this time. 

The future of banking is undoubtedly very different than what was predicted at the start of 2020. New self-service and digital channels that were desired for their convenience, are now proving vital for ensuring customer and employee safety. Banks have tools at their disposal to keep commerce running and serve customers as safely as possible and self-service banking is key to physical distancing. See how Vantage Credit Union increased their transaction volume by 45% on drive-up ATMS, providing their members with excellent service.


Mobile cash withdrawals help customers reduce contact

Consumers still need cash — and they frequently turn to ATMs as an essential service. But they’re also looking for ways to interact without touching shared surfaces, like ATM touch screens and keypads. That’s where technology like pre-staged mobile cash withdrawals can help.

Many mobile banking apps today allow cardholders to set up ATM withdrawals from their phone. Once the customer arrives at a mobile cash enabled ATM, they can open their app, take a picture of a QR code on the ATM to link it to the transaction and wait for the cash to be dispensed.

Since the customer has authenticated themselves through the mobile application, there’s no need to enter a PIN at the terminal; a single tap on the screen is all that’s needed to start the transaction. The app also saves the transaction request, reducing the need for a paper receipt.

This makes the transaction faster and helps encourage use of your banks other mobile banking features. Best of all, it provides an easy way to promote physical distancing by both minimizing lines and wait time.


In a time of uncertainty, NCR is ready to help

This is a complex and fast-changing series of events. We’re here to help make it simpler. NCR is committed to helping banks and credit unions of all sizes navigate the many challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information—please contact

Our banking solutions experts are in the trenches with our customers, working hard to help provide guidance, solutions and recommendations. You can find out more at


* Retail Banking Research Global ATM Market and Forecasts


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