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Emerging ATM Trends - Cashless, Full Self-Service, and Payment Stations
The modern ATM that billions of customers have come to know and love for fast withdrawals and balance inquiries swept into the marketplace during the mid-twentieth century and the basic concept has continued to be improved upon for the last several decades. In more recent history, a deposit feature has been added to many ATMs as well as the ability to receive the requested funds in various formats. ATMs that offer other services, such as the purchase of postage stamps, the ability to pay household bills, and even pay state and federal taxes in some countries, have sprung up the world over. With trends such as these, businesses of all sorts should keep a keen eye on this emerging market in order to maximize profits within their establishment and to encourage customer loyalty and patronage.
Cashless ATMs are one of the emerging trends at this time and are a true convenience to both the customer and the business in which the cashless ATM, or scrip ATM, is located. The basic workings of the scrip ATM is very straight forward. The customer uses a small device, which looks much like a credit card point of sale terminal that is located at nearly every retail establishment around the globe, to request a certain amount of money. The request is made using a PIN and can be made in increments of $5 or $10. The scrip ATM prints up a receipt for the customer who then shops within the store and during checkout presents the receipt to the cashier. The cashier treats the receipt as currency and will provide change if the amount requested from the cashless ATM is more than the total of the items purchased. This is a win-win situation for both customers and businesses as the customer is able to take smaller amounts out of their account but is still able to receive change if needed, often providing a larger amount of cash back than stores normally provide using traditional debit card processing. The store also benefits from this transaction as the scrip ATM allows for a direct link from the customer's bank account to the shop's bank account. The change provided by the cashier is the difference between the amount of money transferred and the amount of good purchased by the customer. Often times, no fees are charged per transaction, saving retailers a large amount of money in fees alone.
Another potential for profit in the ATM industry is the full service ATM. These ATMs can perform a multitude of tasks from dispensing or reloading prepaid debit cards, allowing the purchase of local postage stamps, the ability to receive foreign or neighboring currency, and pay bills and taxes. Machines such as this are geared more towards the busy individual whose time is limited by working standard business hours, working mothers who are needing to pay bills, get money for grocery shopping, and take care of other banking tasks simultaneously, or for those who carry odd hours at their job and are not available to go to the bank during normal hours. Full service ATMs that provide the ability to deposit, withdraw, and check account balances are great for those in the banking industry as they allow for less traffic within their physical locations, and thus can reduce overall operating costs. With more and more customers making the move towards partial or fully online banking, ATMs that offer full service are a continuing trend that will no doubt develop even further in the future.
ATMs being used as payment hubs are also gaining in popularity. Many municipalities and businesses have long offered their customers the option of paying bills at several locations around their service area. Making the move to payment hubs that include ATMs only makes logical sense. These businesses will be able to benefit from the same cost reductions as internet banks as they require less people staffing walk in offices or payment lines that accept payments. ATM payment hubs are able to be securely maintained and can even provide change to a customer to the nearest $5 increments or allow the excess to be credited towards their next payment cycle.
These emerging trends are just a few to watch for on the horizon. These scrips ATM features discussed here are easy to incorporate into an existing business and the start up costs are very minimal. Scrips ATMs also provide customers with a peace of mind as they are not required to carry a large amount of cash with them in the store, which can make them, and the businesses they are in, potential targets for thieves. Existing ATMs are readily integrated with the other trends discussed, especially those with the capability to accept deposits. These emerging ATM trends are of such a benefit to both the consumer and the business that not taking advantage of these new technologies would be turning a blind eye towards new growth potentials.