By : Colin Gordon
March 20, 2018 12:00 PM
The ATM remains an essential part of the banking automation landscape all over the world, and as trends such as self-service and the need to deploy services more cost-effectively gain pace, the ATM will be more relevant than ever.
RBR forecasts that by 2022, there will be 3.7 million ATMs deployed around the globe, with emerging markets leading the way with growth. However, if these devices are to truly improve financial inclusion and provide the level of experience consumers expect, they will need to do much more than in the past.
The must-haves for any smart ATM
The term 'smart ATM' isn't new. But as devices evolve and new capabilities become available, it's important for banks to make sure they are refreshing their networks to keep up with demand and take on more of the functions that would previously have been reserved for in-branch cashiers.
For instance, one feature that is essential for any smart ATM is intelligent deposit functionality. This is especially true in locations where self-service machines will be the primary method in which people interact with their bank, as it ensures that users are not limited to the opening hours of a branch. Their use is an essential part of the microbranch, or ‘branch-in-a-box’ concept, and helps drive revenue for banks and increase the number of transactions.
Similarly, cash recycling capabilities are another key facet of any smart ATM. This helps ensure that consumers such as small business owners have better access to withdraw or deposit higher volumes of cash whilst saving banks time, as well as reducing costs associated with replenishment and cash in transit.
Transforming the customer experience
While capabilities such as cash recycling and intelligent deposit have key roles to play in making banks' ATM networks more efficient and available to consumers, they are far from the only ways in which the smart ATM can transform how customers interact with them, and increasingly, there are far more visible features that are essential to the smart ATM.
The move away from the traditional keypad to a touchscreen interface is one such solution, and this allows banks to do far more with their machines than would be possible in the past. Bright, colorful multi-touch interfaces not only give people a user experience that they will be familiar and comfortable with from their smartphones and tablets, it means banks can add more complex features to their devices, turning the ATM from a transactional device to one that enables people to manage almost every aspect of their finances.
A common definition for a smart ATM is one that can replace activities that would in the past have required a teller. In today's self-service oriented world, ATMs are therefore expected to be effectively entire branches contained within a single box.
To be truly smart, an ATM must not only provide users with a wider range of features - from transferring funds between accounts to depositing cash and checks easily - but do so in an easy-to-use, cost-effective manner. As more people rely solely on the ATM for their in-person banking needs, strong solutions for this will become more important than ever in the coming years.