Few technologies today have the staying power of the ATM. Since its inception in 1967, this remarkable invention has transformed financial services, and it continues to touch the lives of consumers everywhere.
In fact, atmmarketplace.com cites findings from a recent RBR report estimating the worldwide installed base of ATMs at more than three million as of 2014. The report, entitled “Global ATMs and Market Forecasts to 2020,” goes on to predict that more than four million ATMs will span the globe by the end of 2020.
“The ATM has been fundamental to the credit union branch experience for as long as most of us can remember,” said Terry Pierce, Senior Product Manager for CO-OP Financial Services. “In fact, it is arguably one of the most important service platform you provide for members, and as such it should deliver more than speed and convenience. It should speak to your brand image and provide a high-touch experience that makes members feel valued and welcome.”
More Than Just a Machine
According to Pierce, recent advancements in ATM technology allow credit unions to deliver on this proposition. “ATM technology is advancing quickly and becoming much more ‘teller like,’” said Pierce. “And by this I mean that ATMs are increasingly supporting a broader range of transactions while providing a much warmer and more personalized experience for the member.”
Pierce emphasizes that today’s ATM displays play a significant role in this paradigm. “Some ATM viewable displays available in the market today have color touchscreen capability that are larger and can be customized to be landscape or portrait, and they use conversational language to guide users through their transactions,” she said. “Behind the display, the underlying technology allows for a highly personalized interaction, in which consumers can select everything from the language, fast cash withdrawal options and the way receipts should be delivered. Many new models automatically process volume deposits of mixed notes and bills, and also enable cash withdrawals in multi-denominations down to the dollar. Some even dispense coins.”
She adds that today’s most advanced platforms integrate mobile into the mix. “We are seeing new models that enable a contactless transaction similar to Apple Pay,” she said. “The user can pre-stage a transaction on a mobile device and then retrieve cash at a branch ATM by waiving the mobile phone using NFC technology, flashing a QR code or entering a one-time passcode.”
One of the most valuable innovations for members, says Pierce, is the ability to access all of their credit union accounts – not just those tied to a card.
“Existing investments in ATMs can be enhanced to offer this capability through integration with the CO-OP Connect platform,” she said. “With this technology, members can view and manage their finances holistically, all from the ATM, checking balances, making payments and performing a broad range of transactions that previously required teller assistance. These ATMs can even assist guest members at CO-OP Shared Branch express locations.”
Video Tellers Bring the ATM to Life
To make the experience even more interactive, Pierce points to new innovations in video teller technology. “These ATMs allow members in the branch to video conference with a live teller located off-site at a central location,” she said. “So, they get access to full-service assistance for more complex transactions and when they have questions about their accounts.”
She adds that video teller ATMs typically come equipped with signature pads and scanners to process transactions from end to end.
And while these new ATM platforms continue to add dimension to the member experience, they also excel as sales and marketing tools.
“The ATM splash screen can be leveraged to display branding elements and introduce new products to members,” she said. “And many credit unions today are using analytics technology on the back-end to individualize these messages. For example, if the cardholder has teenage children, offers for student loans might be presented. Homeowners may find themselves learning about refinancing.”
Pierce notes that these and other ATM innovations make a compelling business case for credit unions to upgrade their fleet.
“Not only do today’s ATMs help credit unions reduce overhead in the branch, but they also elevate the role that branch employees play, allowing them to focus on higher level, more satisfying tasks that truly nurture and grow member relationships,” she said. “Members are happier because they can skip the teller line more often and still receive all the service and support they need.”
She continued, “Ultimately, self-service and full-service channels are both critical to the success of a branch – and they should work together to create an engaging experience for members that keeps them coming back.”
For more information on how credit unions can get the most out of their ATM fleets, visit the CO-OP ATM resource center.
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