By : Colin Gordon
September 13, 2017 08:00 AM
Financial inclusion and access to self-service banking in Africa is becoming increasingly important as financial institutions look to grow their ATM install base. The ATM remains one of the most frequently used banking channels in developing and emerging African countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Angola and Tanzania, for example.
As a self-service banking channel, the ATM is still a critical component of day-to-day life for people in Africa. The equivalent of over $970 billion USD is withdrawn at the ATM every year in the Middle East & Africa region*. Cash clearly remains a vital part of everyday life and many countries in Africa are the fastest-growing markets in the world.
In a market such as growing African countries, it is important to make clear that ATMs offer much more than just cash dispensing - ATMs can redefine the consumer banking experience through the ability to offer intelligent deposit functionality. Banks deploying intelligent deposit can experience a fantastic range of benefits in terms of transaction migration from branch teller to ATM, with times for routine transactions such as depositing funds or checks being improved. This is particularly important in countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, where banks are looking to expand their ATM presence beyond the main cities into more rural areas of the country to serve as much of the population as possible. The demand for ATMs in Africa is gathering pace as a rising share of the population gain access to bank accounts and wider financial services. Interestingly many African countries have only really seen ATM growth since the early 1990s. This is unlike many mature Western European or North American markets that have had ATMs since the late 1960s.
Electronic payments, online banking and mobile payments are all likely to become more common in Africa. Mobile payments like mPesa will grow, but cash will continue to be an important payment choice for consumers. This is despite the challenges of many of the developing economies in the region, particularly in sub-Saharan countries, where banking technology is still uncommon. In some cases, lack of infrastructure or economic development has hindered the development of ATMs and branches compared to other parts of the world. That said, telecommunications and resources to purchase hardware and ATMs are beginning to improve.
NCR SelfServ™ is also the market-leading ATM brand in the Middle East and Africa, with over 70,000 ATMs installed - a 40% market share*. (Source: Retail Banking Research – Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2021). NCR’s SelfServ range of intelligent deposit ATMs are designed to enable financial institutions to take self-service at the ATM to a whole new level. They have been engineered to not only accommodate the technologies of today, but also to easily adapt to what’s to come in the future.
There are so many exciting technical innovations and changes happening in the African financial services market at the moment, providing consumers with more choice than ever before. The ATM still has a vital role to play, however, as it undergoes some of the most exciting innovations seen in recent years. Some banks in Africa might question why they need to continue innovating and investing in their ATM estate, when it already functions so effectively. However, if banks continue to offer just cash dispense functionality at the ATM, it raises a real risk of being left behind by competitors that are willing to invest in delivering next-generation experiences and maximum convenience for their customers. Showing commitment to the self-service channel is also important from an omni-channel perspective. If has African financial institutions have aspirations to deliver a coherent, seamless experience across channels, it's crucial that their ATM estate is driven by the same level of innovation and progressive thinking as online and mobile banking.
*Source: Retail Banking – Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2021