Automated teller machines — ATMs — have been around for decades now. They have done a great job reducing lines in branches, by taking over routine over-the-counter transactions, such as cash withdrawals or check deposits. Currently, there are 425,000 active ATMs in the U.S.
But, as we hear a lot lately, cash (and checks) are on their way out. In addition, banks are also busy turning branches into cafe-style, self-serve hubs (with wifi and coffee), with only a few “advisers” roaming the area.
In this self-serve banking future, what will be the role of good old ATMs?
Turns out, those machines are far from becoming obsolete (as some startups claim), and are getting an upgrade as well.
“ATMs are moving up the stack in terms of sophistication and capabilities,” said Devon Watson, VP of strategy at Diebold Nixdorf. “There is a great opportunity to turn customers’ interaction with the ATM from a mere transaction, to an engagement tool.”
Diebold Nixdorf is a corporate marriage of ATM-maker Diebold and a German software company Wincor Nixdorf, which closed in the summer of 2016. Since the closing of the acquisition, the company took a dive into the fintech world and is now exploring cutting-edge technologies — both hardware and software — for banks and retailers (they even came up with their own iteration of Amazon Go).
But back to ATMs: aside from cardless transactions, those machines can potentially become customer service “portals” within the bank branches of the future, Watson told Bank Innovation:
Some of our customers already use a solution which allows them to display targeted offers through the ATMs, while customers are conducting their transactions. They might say: ‘While fulfilling your request, here, learn about our P2P app offering.’ Then they even offer video chat capabilities with tellers and get a few questions answered on the offering. They can also get remote assistance.
There are, however, many other features and transactions that the company is exploring with its banking clients — “most of the major banks,” according to Watson.
One of those clients, TD Bank, partnered with Diebold Nixdorf for the latter to “provide support to TD’s multi-vendor network of more than 5,000 automated teller machines in North America,” according to TD’s first quarter 2017 SEC filing last week.
“TD Bank is a cutting-edge bank, and although I cannot say what projects exactly we are working on with them, I can say that we are probably talking about many of the functionalities we talked about,” Watson added.