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“We signed a fair amount of new membership as a result of just the interactive technology machine,” Smith said. “There’s no question that it has been a component of what is driving new business.”
Companies are tinkering with next-generation machines that could hook up with a mobile banking application to know, for example, when you’re near a car dealership. The ATM could be “a platform to print out a mortgage application, sign it, scan and complete it without ever having to be in front of a loan officer,” said NCR’s Bailey.
NCR already is working with several credit unions on technology allowing customers to remotely talk to a mortgage agent or insurance agent.
Other industry players see a world of possibility. ATMs are underused, argues Better ATM Service’s Nuttall.
“The ATM is the best and largest self-service financial device on the planet,” Nuttall said. “Why isn’t it doing some of these other financial transactions?”
In many other countries ATMs function as financial kiosks, he said, allowing people to pay bills, get subway and bus tickets or top off their prepaid cellphone minutes.
Nuttall thinks the U.S. will gravitate to kiosks. As evidence of support for the concept, he pointed to Outerwall Inc.’s (formerly Coinstar) $350 million purchase last year of ecoATM, whose mall kiosks dispense cash in return for cellphones that can be resold.
There are myriad other innovations. ATM providers are “looking hard” at incorporating couponing and advertising via high-definition “video toppers” that provide a constant stream of news, weather and other information, said Bruce Renard, head of the National ATM Council, a trade association for independent ATM providers and suppliers.
Still, not everyone is tricking out their ATM fleets just yet.
“We’re still kind of exploring and looking at ways to deploy and reasons to deploy,” said Jeannie Fichtel, U.S. Bank’s executive vice president of 24-hour and ATM banking.
Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for U.S. Bank Payments Services, doesn’t see a compelling case for a cardless ATM yet. “Right now it’s sort of creating as many issues as it would solve,” he said.
Nonetheless, souped-up ATMs for greater self-service banking are featuring heavily in Branch of the Future ideas.
The general idea is to get customers out of the teller line when it comes to standard transactions, said Devon Watson, Diebold’s vice president of new business and solution incubation: “Research shows consumers would rather do it themselves if it’s efficient and they feel in control.”
Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683