By : Scott Millar
November 17, 2014 03:18 PM
For years the focus for banks has largely been on expanding the ATM base. More machines means you can reach more consumers, and deliver the service that they demand.
But while meeting the needs of the consumer remains paramount, those requirements are changing and banks have to adapt. ‘We have enough ATMs, we just need them to do more," your customers are saying.
This has produced a tangible shift in the European market, where expansion is being trumped by innovation.
RBR’s report, ATMs in Europe 2014: Hardware, Software and Services, reveals how banks are increasingly focusing on improving their existing install base, rather than rolling out more machines. Banks are replacing their legacy machines with new products that can deliver more functionality and richer banking services though the ATM channel. Of course there are still regions where growth has been significant, namely Turkey and Russia. However, the deployed base of ATMs in Europe fell by 15,000 last year.
But behind this data we see an increase in automated deposit ATMs with intelligent deposit and cash recycling technology, as well as more banks adopting ATM management tools and cash forecasting solutions.
In fact cash recycling ATMs increased by almost a fifth across Europe in 2013 as deployers have come round to the fact that the reduction in cash management costs effectively offsets any upfront investment into the latest media handling technology solutions. Although some were initially reluctant to invest, the returns are being demonstrated.
Germany leads the way with around half of all ATMs with cash recycling technology. Across Western Europe around seven per cent of machines boast this feature. In middle and Eastern Europe this drops to just one per cent.
This shift towards quality over quantity is driven by cost optimization and strategic customer satisfaction fulfillment rather than ATM saturation factors. Perhaps in such a saturated market as Europe this is to be expected, but it is no less revealing of the overall state of play. Banks need ATMs to do more to satisfy growing consumer needs, more functionality for consumers, and providing more operational benefits for financial institutions by automating dedicated services through the ATM channel.
This can also be seen by the rise in cash forecasting and management software that is now used on 370,000 ATMs in Europe. This marks an increase of 28 percent since the end of 2011 and demonstrates just how important banks view reducing cash handling costs and increasing operational efficiency.
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