/ Money

Are you ready for ‘smart’ ATMs?

Talking ATM with headphone socket

Smart phones, smart meters, smart watches… what about smart ATMs? What are these new beasts of the high street, and could they come to a town near you?

Smart ATMs – which are already available in lots of other countries including Australia, Canada and India – not only give you access to your cash, but they can also receive deposits. You could also transfer money between your accounts or clear cheques.

By providing customers with a new way to access banking services, these ATMs could be a decent alternative to visiting a bank branch.

In fact, when we asked people what they’d like to see if their bank branch closed, smart ATMs featured as one of the top alternatives. Banks sharing branches or operating in supermarkets were other popular options.

Who could benefit from smart ATMs?

Smart ATMs certainly add to the face-to-face and digital banking channels already available. Like most new banking technologies, they have the potential to make life a bit more convenient – provided they work, and the banks have worked out what the security risks are. You may not want to deposit cash on a dimly-lit street, for example.

They’ll surely represent a boon for bank customers – like tradesmen – who use cash for their work, but can’t make it to a branch during normal working hours. Meanwhile, it could add another string to the financial bow of the most vulnerable customers – like the unemployed and older people – who are more likely to use cash.

And if you’ve had a win on the horses and don’t fancy carrying your cash home with you, you could just drop it off at a smart ATM…

What about bank branches?

Of course, people do still visit bank branches, as our latest research shows. Four in 10 people told us they still use their local branch at least once a month.

We think it’s especially important that banks consult local communities to establish the impact of branch closures, but also whether smart ATMs would be a suitable alternative. This requirement is set out in a new protocol on branch closures, announced last month. We worked with the Government and banking industry on the protocol to make sure customers’ needs were met.

Ultimately, smart ATMs should be a useful addition to high street banking, provided residents’ needs – and those of the most vulnerable customers – are met.

Are you ready for the dawn of the smart ATM? Do you think they would be a suitable alternative to your local bank branch?

Would you deposit money or a cheque into a smart ATM?

No (46%, 479 Votes)

Yes (42%, 440 Votes)

I don't know (12%, 122 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,041

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I think I will stick to using online banking, but it would be useful to have a facility to pay in cash and cheques.

I would like to see more ATMs in the 24h supermarkets, including the smart variety. In an environment with people around, there is less likelihood of crime.


I use my bank to withdraw cash because I do not like having £20 notes or£10s which ATMs always want to provide me with
I prefer a few £5 notes

Doree says:
23 October 2015

I do agree about the £20 notes in particular. I do not like it when they put on the screen `no £10 notes available` especially when I only want ten,.

I would like to see atm `s have more £5 notes


For many years, banks have, inside branches, offered deposit machines and machines that perform a similar function to online banking. The only progression here is that they will combine all functions into one machine and they will install them outside branches.

The only problem I see is that those who are doing time-consuming transactions will hold up the machine for those who simply want to withdraw cash. However, I find that I’m hardly withdrawing cash any more. Pubs and bars were the last place that I used cash, but with these now encouraging contactless card payments which is faster than cash, I no longer need cash.


Where I live there, there are no banks with deposit facilities nearby. I suspect that this applies to many others who do not frequent city centres on a regular basis.


Hi NFH, it’s worth mentioning that with the new smart ATMs you will be able to deposit cash from any bank’s cashpoint into an account with any other bank. At the moment, you can only deposit into the bank you’re in.


I used to use a shared branch of Midland/HSBC at the university where I worked. That allowed deposit of cash and cheques for those like myself who banked with other banks. Very handy, but it closed years ago when the university decided it needed the building for other purposes.

I’m looking forward to smart ATMs, simply for the deposit facilities.


Patrick – that’s great news then. It means when someone irritatingly sends me a cheque instead of a bank transfer, I won’t suffer the onerous task of visiting a bank branch or post office during opening hours.


I’m still waiting for smart traffic lights.

Douglas says:
13 April 2015

Be careful what you wish for.. I seem to remember the French had smart traffic lights that held up people who had been speeding. Suspect some of ours are even now used to delay traffic on routes they don’t want people using too much.


We have a local lane over a canal with a single-lane hump-back bridge and smart traffic lights – they always change on approach if nothing has priority on the other side. We have another similar road where the bridge has no lights, so a cacophony of horns required to warn people out of sight on the other side of your intention to brave the crossing.

Self service tills – one outside our Nationwide – can be used to deposit cash or cheques, but presumably like ours only when on your provider’s premises? They seem to be just a post-box that the (smart) staff check. I’d be nervous about putting cash into a remote machine. I’m not a total convert to all things smart – I worry they might have a habit of not being able to outsmart determined hackers, or put up with technologically inept users. I’m old fashioned in wanting some control, particularly when things go wrong. In the past when designing automated systems or products with new features I kept in mind the possibility of the clever design being not quite so good in practice, so tried to incorporate a Plan B. I hope smart designers have this in mind.


I avoid being an early adopter of technology and wait until the teething troubles to be sorted out. I lost my trust of banks when they told us that phantom withdrawals were impossible. I use a contactless card because my liabilities are limited and have had no problem so far. It will take a lot to persuade be to use a mobile phone for any financial transaction, but if it can be demonstrated that they are secure and users will be compensated then I might change my mind. What convinced me to use online banking was that a friend lost a lot of money from an account and was fully compensated.

If the banks want to convince me to adopt new technology they would do best to be honest about what fraud is occurring and how they are dealing with it. I would like to see the Freedom of Information Act extended to include commercial organisations.


I must admit like you wavechange I won’t be in a hurry to use them. Too many stories of scamming devices attached to ATMs for my liking. I’d rather they made ATMs tamper proof first.

I wonder how long before we hear of fake paying in slots being added to ATMs