Five things to do at ATMs you’d never thought possible

By : Scott Millar

September 02, 2014 11:08 PM

ATMs have become a versatile and important part of life in all circles. For example, some currency exchange dealers and financial institutions offer Foreign Exchange ATMs–commonly located at hotels, airports and shopping malls– which are positioned to deliver convenient access to foreign currency where and when you need it.


There are many ways in which to offer this service. The most fundamental service offering requires the insertion of a domestic bank card, where you are typically exchanging your local currency for a foreign currency. You can select to withdrawal from multiple currency options provided by the ATM, however each currency is typically limited to one denomination to dispense. An alternative approach is where the ATM would physically accept many types of currencies through an automated deposit device and exchange the value for the comparable local currency. This foreign exchange offering can be a cardless transaction and is a convenient method to convert your cash to the local currency.


Ultimately, it just comes down to the ATM software and how it enables a transaction to take place. Traditionally, ATM transactions were limited to cash only deals, but increasingly banks and providers around the world are testing the boundaries about what's possible with an ATM as they become an increasingly important interaction point for consumers with their banks.


Here are five of the most unusual ways people can use an ATM, which I lovingly call the simple “hole-in-the-wall.”


  1. 1.             Foreign exchange
    Before you depart to your overseas destination, you can conveniently access foreign currency from a specialised ‘Foreign Exchange ATM.’ Some multi-function Foreign Exchange ATMs can accept foreign currency and convert it to the local currency. This is a convenient last minute cash exchange solution upon your arrival to an overseas destination, and/or a convenient way to convert your cash back to your local currency on your return journey.

  1. 2.             Utility bills
    Electricity, gas and other utility bills can be paid at ATMs in many countries. Some banks will even offer a discount to customers who use the automated service. As many people still pay these bills with a bank giro credit in branch via the teller, it makes sense for banks to offer this service. Credit card bills can also be paid via the ATM.

  1. 3.             Tax payments and fines
    Some bank customers around the world can settle their tax bills at an ATM. Usually it involves setting up your card beforehand by linking the relevant tax information with the account. After that, it's a straightforward process of keying in how much tax you wish to pay at the ATM before the due date. ATMs can let you settle up with the authorities in other ways–in some countries you can pay speeding fines and parking tickets at the “hole in the wall.”

  1. 4.             Travel or event tickets
    Anything paper-based that resembles cash–event tickets, for example–can be dispensed from ATMs with relative ease. Train and airplane tickets can also be loaded up in the cassettes. You can even draw out different currencies, so organizing your vacation currencies can be sorted at the ATM. Tickets for sporting events and music concerts are other good examples of using ATMs to dispense transactional items other than cash.

  1. 5.             Stocks and shares
    Investments of all kinds can be paid for at an ATM, ranging from stocks and shares to insurance premiums. Again, it's simply a matter of the software in the ATM facilitating the electronic transaction.These five cases are just a few examples of the versatility of the ATM. 

    There is certainly many more unusual ones out there. I'll let you know if I come across any more or let me know if you come across others. Check back for more blog posts soon.


Scott Millar

Global Solutions Marketing Manager

Other articles by this author

Based out of NCR’s R&D Centre in Dundee, UK, Scott Millar is responsible for establishing the marketing strategies and enhancing the strength and market share of the NCR Financial Hardware Portfolio. Here, Scott shares his insights.