Is your ATM network working as efficiently as possible?

What will the next 50 years hold for ATMs?

With the banking industry increasingly embracing trends such as self-service, the ATM network is becoming a more crucial part of a bank’s branding than ever before. Today’s solutions offer much more than  simple cash dispensing, providing consumers with the ability to complete a huge range of transactions from these devices.

Therefore, with debit card usage on the rise, ATMs need to work as effectively as possible. This means that ALL transactions are fully operational at the device, including the ability to get cash, and with the same high-quality experience they are accustomed to receiving at the counter.

Being alerted that one is not able to withdraw cash from an ATM can be hugely frustrating to consumers, as we can surely relate to such a negative consumer experience, which typically occurs in the most inopportune situations.   ATMs that have the ability to accept checks, cash deposits and/or recycle cash (which are gaining popularity), are even more critical to the bank for two very simple reasons: (1) have been deployed to aid in the reduction of cash distribution & handling costs; and (2) enable consumers to physically re-bank funds after-hours.

So how can banks ensure that their ATM networks are delivering the services consumers expect? With the right technology, FIs can make key processes operate much smoother and ensure customers aren’t inconvenienced.

Taking a complete view of the ATM’s performance

An ATM should never be out of cash. However, it should also never be over-filled with cash because of both the cost as well as the risk factor associated with having unused cash lying around.  So here is where having the right software can be hugely helpful in ensuring that banks will distribute notes to those ATMs that are driving revenue for the bank as a result of the services that are available and the high transaction volumes.

By monitoring the status of ATMs in real time, banks can be alerted when cash levels fall beneath a certain threshold, allowing them to arrange for replenishments before downtime becomes an issue. Combining this strategy with actual device management, a financial institution can further their savings by avoiding to send cash replenishments when the ATM is out of service for hardware or communication related faults.  The ability to handle this through technology is extremely powerful!

These tools can also help with route planning of replenishment and deposit retrieval activities, so cash-in-transit (CIT) providers are optimizing their deliveries based on true cash demand, thereby maximizing efficiency even further.

Cutting down on costs

Another factor that can help with ensuring notes are always available to customers is a strong cash recycling solution. These can be particularly useful in locations where high volumes of both deposits and withdrawals are being made, as it can cut down on the costs associated with sending CIT personnel out to these machines on a regular basis.

At the same time, effective software to support cash and check deposits, such as NCR’s Intelligent Deposit, improves the efficiency of ATMs and also reduces the need for CIT visits. For example, this technology has helped ING Belgium reduce these activities from one visit per week to one every three weeks, which saves it both time and money.

These innovations don’t just make the ATM network more efficient – they can also improve the performance of bank branches as a whole. For example, since Spanish FI Caja Madrid switched to a fully automated deposit service, it has seen queuing times in its branches drop from around half an hour to just seven minutes.

Taking steps now to improve the efficiency of ATM networks will have an immediate impact on the costs associated with managing this channel, but it will also set up banks well for the longer term. As aging ATM networks around the world start to be replaced with more modern, feature-rich devices, banks that can gain a head start and offer the services consumers expect will be well-placed for years to come.

Written by Cleopatra Mavredis

Cleopatra Mavredis

Cleopatra is NCR’s Global Marketing Manager for Channel Solutions and has more than 20 years of experience in the ATM industry. NCR’s channel solution portfolio is comprised of APTRA Vision, Inetco Insight and OptiSuite solutions.

Read more articles from Cleopatra Mavredis