What is the most effective strategy for managing and maintaining your self-service network? It’s one of the big questions facing a number of high-street banks at the moment.
Technologies such as digital wallets, contactless payments and mobile P2P transactions are becoming increasingly common. Cash use is on the decline in some markets, with industry body Payments UK predicting that debit cards will overtake cash as Britain’s most frequently used payment method by 2019, three years ahead of previously forecast.
However, Payments UK stressed that its projections do not “herald the demise of cash”.
Physical currency still has an extremely important role to play in the payments landscape, so how do financial institutions continue to provide consumer access to cash while maintaining cost efficiency in their self-service network?
One possible glimpse of the future is in the Netherlands, where ABN AMRO, ING, Rabobank and Geldservice Nederland (GSN) recently announced details of a new collaboration.
Following the lead of successful initiatives in Sweden and Finland, the banks are exploring the possibility of a joint ATM network, in consultation with De Nederlandsche Bank, the Netherlands’ central bank.
The aim of the project is to guarantee ongoing ATM availability by transferring the ownership and operation of all of the participating banks’ cash machines to GSN, which was established in 2011 as a joint venture between ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank.
GSN was set up to deliver logistical services such as cash collecting, counting and distribution.
It is hoped that, by transferring ATM ownership and operation to GSM, the project will guarantee ongoing availability of cash to the public, as well as the highest possible standards of safety, service and user experience.
The banks stressed that, for now, nothing will change for consumers. They are hoping to maintain, or possibly even increase, the national coverage of the Netherlands’ ATM network, which was 99.67 percent last year.
Financial services firms in other countries will be watching with interest to see if this initiative is a success. If it is, could it pave the way for similar efforts in other major markets around the world?