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?
No (46%, 479 Votes)
Yes (42%, 440 Votes)
I don't know (12%, 122 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,041