The ATM’s endless possibilities

India’s IDBI Bank Ltd has just launched an ATM offering that lets customers purchase government securities. It’s a first for the country and a clear example of how the ATM can help bridge the financial inclusion divide.

According to the bank, the launch helps further its “contribution to promote and popularize retail participation in government securities” in line with broader government efforts to improve people’s access to financial services.

It also confirms how, with the right software and hardware, the humble ATM can do just about anything these days. For example, we can link to a teller using video to complete complex transactions like applying for a mortgage. And the more people can do at the self-service end, the better it is for banks.

“Cash machines continue to evolve, offering services beyond dispensing cash as consumer expectations shift in the digital age,” notes Payments UK in a new report that highlights some of the transactions now possible.

Of course, in addition to the software and hardware we have in place, it also depends on the market infrastructure as to what can be achieved. For example, Portugal is a country where the pieces in are place for a joined-up ATM network to deliver a wide range of services.

“Due to the cash machine network in Portugal being a fully integrated cross-bank network, a number of innovations have been possible,” says the Payments UK report. “As well as the basic cash dispensing function, many offer a range of other bank related functions and services, such as cash and cheque [check] deposits, as well as other services like cinema and concert ticket purchases, tax payments, bill payments, and mobile phone top-ups.”

The highest used of all consumer self-service banking channels globally is still the ATM.  $14.1 Trillion USD is withdrawn each year in cash globally – that equates to almost $450,000 USD every single second!  The cash machine, may have been first deployed 50 years ago, but still provides a vital role for global banks with 3 million now installed globally. As banks continue wider self-service reinvention initiatives, estimates from Retail Banking Research Global ATM Market and Forecasts are that 4.1 Million ATM will be installed by 2020 and by next year over 1 Million will be able to accept automated note deposit.

And then there are some more unusual transactions that can be performed at the ATM.

Again in India, consumers can make religious donations through ATMs that banks have installed in many temples. Meanwhile, in Indonesia consumers can purchase goats, with the animals slaughtered elsewhere and the food offered to the poor.

An ATM may just be a cash machine in most people’s minds, but it’s obvious the device has a lot more to offer, even in the digital age when more people are going online to do their banking.

Written by Colin Gordon

Colin Gordon

Colin Gordon is a SelfServ Marketing Manager and is based at NCR's R&D Center in Dundee, Scotland. Colin is responsible for the marketing of NCR's financial hardware portfolio with a specific focus on Cash Dispense ATMs & financial trends.

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