What will ATM machines look like in the future?

In an age where cashless payment methods have come to the fore, the need for cash is still relevant, which means that ATM machines are in as much demand as ever before. As cards, smartphone apps and a host of other new payment technologies offer the consumer more ways to transact, in the future ATM machine will incorporate features that enhance, instead of replace, their original cash-dispensing purpose.

The evolution of ATM machines is driven by two factors – a need for banks to cut costs, and the changing needs of consumers.

The ATMs of the future will serve as alternatives to bank branches, allowing users to perform a variety of transactions that currently can only be performed in a bank branch.  ATMs that use a video-teller (also known as a virtual teller) have been introduced in the US. The use of video-tellers that pop up on the ATM screen adds a personal element to what was once a clinical experience. From a bank’s point of view, sophisticated ATM machines enable them to save on human resources and the costs associated with a brick-and-mortar branch.

ATMs will become smarter by linking to personal devices such as smartphones and tablets in order to provide more convenient and secure transactions for the user.

Is there anything our smartphones can’t do? Wintrust, an American bank, recently rolled out ATM machines that have cut down the time people spend at their ATMs from 40 seconds to a lean nine. Thanks to the fact that customers can pre-programme their withdrawals, by the time they arrive at their designated ATM, obtaining cash only requires a scan of their smartphone. Besides the convenience factor, card-less ATM machines also eliminate the security risk of having your card skimmed.

South African ATM machines may soon use biometrics instead of PIN codes as personal verification.

This article  by News24 , reported that SA ATMs will soon start to incorporate fingerprint readers in order to verify the user. As far as security goes, this is far superior to using a PIN. Mark Shermetaro, CEO of Lumidigm (an authentication solutions provider based in the US, who are in the process of developing technology for the South African market) said: “There’s absolutely no comparison in security between a PIN – something you know – and a biometric – something you are. A PIN can be compromised, forgotten or dumbed-down so far that it is easily guessable.”  Unlike a PIN code, a fingerprint cannot be replicated or faked. Although no specific date of rollout has been set, South African consumers can expect to see their neighbourhood ATMs use biometrics identification methods sooner, rather than later.

ATM machines of the future will consist of user-interfaces, and be operated entirely from the user’s smartphone.

Our mobile phones are about to become even more handy. Card-less, button-free ATM machines are already in operation in the US. All transactions are performed through the cloud via a smartphone – another step towards secure transactions, as card skimming devices would become obsolete. These machines verify users via QR codes displayed on the screen, which the user then photographs on their phone. While these ATM machines aren’t available in South Africa yet, it’s only a matter of time before our smartphones replace our ATM cards.

As ATM machines evolve to make the act of withdrawing cash safer and more convenient for the consumer, ATM fraud is set to decrease dramatically. ATMs will continue to take buying behaviour into account, in an effort to provide consumers with a variety of payment and withdrawal methods most convenient to them. Future ATMs will evolve to have a host of features for the benefit of the consumer, but will always remain a reliable source of cash when you need it most.