By : Colin Gordon
August 23, 2016 12:00 AM
For businesses operating in today’s fast-moving, endlessly innovative world, one thing is for sure: those that don’t keep up with the times will soon get left behind. As far as financial institutions are concerned, one of the biggest trends to be aware of is the self-service revolution that is ongoing. Customers want the independence to complete as many tasks as possible on whatever device they choose, when and wherever they wish.
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo, a professor of business history and bank management at Bangor University in Wales, told NerdWallet, “Today, what consumers are asking for is to be able to bank wherever and whenever, and through different channels. People are changing the way they consume in the same way that banks are trying to change the way they operate.”
What may actually be of surprise is that the ATM is at the heart of this revolution. Despite the many channels available to bank customers today, the ATM remains highly popular because of its familiarity and ease of use. Three million ATMs are installed globally today with that number anticipated to rise to over four million by 2020, according to research from RBR London.
Financial institutions can make sure their machines are as appealing and useful as possible to modern-day consumers by keeping up with some of the following trends – trends that are likely to represent the future of ATM design and usability.
With smartphones at the heart of so many everyday rituals in modern society, it will surprise no one that these devices look set to play an increasingly important part in how customers use ATMs. Professor Batiz-Lazo told Wired, “We can expect more merging of mobile and ATMs as banks are transforming themselves by deploying and relying ever more on self-service technology to interact with their customers.”
A number of major financial institutions have moved to increase mobile accessibility across their ATM network, including JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.
Introducing ATMs with the potential for touch, swipe and gesture capability enablement can help banks deliver the sort of intuitive, user-friendly experience that customers have come to expect from modern devices, largely because of the smartphone revolution.
Some machines give banks the capacity to combine these functions with other cutting-edge features like contactless card readers and the latest protections against skimming and other security threats.
With customers showing more demand for flexibility and self-service capability in their banking services, it is becoming increasingly important for ATMs to offer as many functions as possible. Intelligent deposit ATMs, for example, allow users to make cash and check deposits and also complete other tasks such as paying bills, transferring funds and topping up their phone.
As well as delivering maximum convenience and saving time for the customer, offering these services through ATMs reduces operational costs and frees up staff resources for the bank.
Security measures of the future?
As technology and security threats evolve, so must the capability of financial institutions to keep their customer data safe. One field that could experience significant growth in the near future is biometrics, with fingerprint or eye-scanning technology potentially offering a more secure and reliable way of verifying a customer’s identity. Contactless transactions could also improve security by removing the need for cards to be inserted into machines, cutting the risk of skimming.
Such innovations can be enabled through software updates that allow ATM machines to link with payment services or biometric scanning apps on smartphones, removing the need for widespread hardware upgrades. Introducing the latest and most user-friendly software will help banks to stay at the forefront of the self-service revolution and give their customers exactly what they want.