‘Serve yourself’ has very much become a twenty-first-century trend. Whether it’s scanning your groceries at the store, self-pumping at the gas station, or ordering your fast food from the kiosk, organizations are always looking for ways to help consumers to help themselves.
And in the world of banking, it’s no different. In fact, the bank introduced one of the most popular tools for self-service to us more than 40 years ago: Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). These revolutionized how we access our cash, making it easy, accessible, and available, anywhere and everywhere!
But in today’s world, the ATM is becoming obsolete. Let me explain:
Banking smarter, not harder
The reason that self-service technology has significantly developed over the past few decades is due to its popularity; being able to self-serve makes our lives easier, services more accessible, and saves us time. And banks aren’t in the business of making our lives harder, they want to empower us to manage our finances easily and efficiently.
With this in mind, we’ve witnessed a rise in contactless payments. Things like paying for a coffee, making a donation, or hopping on the subway can be done with the tap of a card. Additionally, there are apps for almost anything; book a taxi with Uber or Lyft, pay for your car parking, or transfer money to a friend. Those very reasons we needed to carry a stack of cash in our wallets have a smarter alternative.
Repurposing the ATM
As the ATM is a tool to provide access to our physical dollars – which we now rarely need – its purpose is fast becoming obsolete. Perhaps you’d expect to see them slowly disappearing from our streets, but that’s not what we’re seeing.
Instead, as an organization, we’re noticing a shift. Our smart lockers have been popular in the parcel delivery space for some time, facilitating retailer-to-consumer deliveries/pick-up. But now other industries are noticing the potential. For example, libraries are implementing locker solutions for book delivery, grocery stores are using them to enable contactless shopping, and banks are exploring how smart lockers can become the ATM of the future.
You see, banking is more than just handling cash. There are loans, savings and investments, mortgages, and credit cards; in other words, more potential for self-service. Maybe withdrawing cash is a thing of the past, but accessing these vital services is still very much relevant for our present and future. Therefore, banks are implementing smart lockers to act as advanced ATMs. These kiosks are enabling documents to be securely transferred from the bank to the consumer, and vice versa. And as such, are empowering the customer to manage their finances easily and efficiently (the exact reason we love to self-serve).
The future of banking
We know how banks are using smart lockers, but the question is why are they finding an alternative future for the ATM? There are a few reasons:
- To help them save resources and money. With more processes that are self-service enabled, there’s less need for banks to have physical spaces. The money spent on property can be invested elsewhere, for example in building more innovative solutions like contactless payments.
- Facilitate an improvement in the consumer’s experience. For the consumer, more self-service options can only be a positive. There will be no more queuing or waiting around to simply drop off a signed document, for example. And with staff freed up from the more mundane tasks, services will become more efficient and effective.
- Enable 24/7 access to banking. Typically, banking hours are 9 am-5 pm, the same office hours of many organizations. So, how can workers get their financial admin done when the bank is shut during their free time? Smart lockers enable banks to offer 24/7 services. Customers can drop off documents safely and securely at a time that suits them, much like they can withdraw cash at 2 am if they need to.
The ATM has been a staple in managing our finances for many years and while in its current form the ATM is becoming somewhat of a pastime, the revolution of the ATM is well underway. In the future, we can expect more and more banks to provide advanced kiosks, giving a new lease of life to the concept of the trusty Automated Teller Machine.