Consumers can enjoy drive-up convenience almost everywhere these days. We have drive-up pay at the pump for fuel, and while drive-through fast food has been with us for decades, the concept is increasingly expanding to coffee shops, groceries and more. But despite the fact consumers are so familiar with this option, one area where drive-up convenience hasn’t gained such momentum outside the United States and Middle East is within retail banking.
Given people’s increasing desire for convenience in today’s always-connected environment, this may seem a strange oversight. One interesting observation that I have picked up at many recent NCR SelfServ 80 Series launch events, customer events and ATM industry events I have attended in 2017, is drive-up ATMs seem to be getting some serious attention from financial institutions when they are evaluating how best they can conveniently serve their customers in a slightly different way.
The state of play today
Currently, there are just under 70,000 drive-up ATMs globally, which account for around two percent of the world’s 3.15 million ATMs*. However, these tend to be concentrated in just a few key regions. The majority, some 56,000, are installed in the US, where they account for around 40 percent of the country’s installed ATMs base. Elsewhere, the Middle East has almost 10,000, most of which are located in Saudi Arabia. Most other global regions have less than 1,000 installed.
One region that hasn’t seen much expansion in drive-up ATMs is Europe. In many other industries, the European market can often be influenced by what is happening in other regions, so there’s no reason why the same should not be true in the banking sector as well.
Consumers in the UK, for example, do appear to be very attracted by the idea of drive-up convenience using the ATM. A recent tweet from Metro Bank highlighting their drive-up ATMs received the highest level of consumer interaction of all their recent social media activity, with quotes of “how cool is that”, “amazing” and “brilliant – that is what you call thinking out of the box”.
Why drive-ups could be set for growth
There are many benefits to drive-up ATMs for financial institutions and consumers. They can be installed in a through-the-wall location or standalone, making them a practical solution for any location, without operators having to make significant changes to a building or roadway. Plus, in addition to the time-saving potential of these devices, factors such as temperature variance – be it sunny weather, cold weather or rain – often means it is easier for consumers to drive to an ATM than find a parking space and then walk out in the elements.
What’s more, drive-up ATM functionality enables financial institutions to deliver 24/7 self-service banking to consumers in far more locations, including out of town retail parks or near fuel stations. There are also benefits to consumers who may have young family in the car, as they don’t need to leave them when going to an ATM to withdraw funds.
All this convenience, potentially whilst using technology such as 19-inch touch screen displays and video banking capability alongside withdrawing or depositing funds, highlights why this innovation at the ATM may be a possible area of growth in coming years.
* Source: Retail Banking Research Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2021