“For all the focus on banking technologies, there’s one tool that gets virtually no attention, even though it’s indispensable. In fact, most of us still turn to it more often than we do to the branch, the website, or mobile apps. Can you even think what it is?” banking.com
Yes, the automated teller machine, the banking-without-a-bank resource that’s been around since the ’60s. It’s allowed consumers of every stripe to perform routine functions (withdrawals, deposits, transfers) inside grocery stores, malls, casinos and a host of other locations. In some ways, even as it took some of the personalization out, it represented the first true advance in innovation and convenience.
Ironically, innovation is not a term we associate with it now. In some ways, the ATM seems a little like the TV set. The screen has gotten sharper, there’s more functionality and greater security, but it’s basically a big, reliable block of hardware that we use the same way we always have, even while the environment around it has undergone a radical transformation. To the naked eye, at least, it hasn’t evolved much in decades.
Of course, that’s not true, and it’s about to become even less so. According to a new report released this week by the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), the global trade group with 1,300 members in 50 countries, it could be the next market to watch for real innovation. There’s one area in particular that should be really interesting: mobile.
The international survey released this week by the ATMIA forecasts that mobile or ‘contactless’ access will be the fastest-growing, value-added ATM service in the next five years. For now, this represents transactions initiated by a smartphone instead of the traditional debit or credit card; in future, it could likely go off in other directions as well.