Mercator Blog

Observations from the 2015 ATMIA U.S. Conference
Date: March 3, 2015
Mercator
Research Team

The theme of this year’s U.S. ATMIA (ATM Industry Association) event, “Enhancing the Consumer’s Self-Service Experience,” held in Las Vegas in mid-February, was both timely and relevant. Included in the many presentations and workshops were discussions of just how important ATMs are and how they’ve become the foundation for self-service banking.

The keynotes and various breakout session presentations and discussions addressed the evolution of the ATM and the fast pace of adoption of new features. Among these capabilities are many, if not most, of the tasks traditionally handled by tellers in branches, so financial institutions (FIs) can potentially reduce the load on the teller workforce by leveraging the power of the ATM.

Many discussion participants commented on how the ATMs role continues to expand and are an important component of omnichannel banking. Two of the core components of omnichannel banking—the synchronization of data and interoperability between channels—can be important drivers of increased profitability for financial institutions.

As banks consider reducing their number of traditional branches and as they embrace expanded self-service and assisted-service banking, the increased use of advance-feature ATMs makes sense, as these ATMs can perform additional tasks beyond basic cash withdrawals and deposits. This allows for an expanded or deeper role for tellers and other branch personnel, who can take on more sales and customer education tasks and increase interactions with banking customers, including cross-selling products and services.

The ongoing need for cash was reviewed in several presentations as well, including one cited instances of consumers needing cash at odd times and places because payments systems were unavailable, incompatible, or simply down. This was a good reminder that cash is still a universal payment system, not only for small transactions but also when the lights (or machines) go out.

It’s safe to say the ATM remains relevant—perhaps more so than ever—and very important to most banking customers. Even with an increase in the use of digital banking (and perhaps because of the increased use of mobile devices in banking), ATMs remain a primary “go-to” channel for today’s busy consumers.