/ 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

I look at ATMs when passing. I would report anything that looked suspicious, but I have never seen an ATM that appeared to be modified.

Perhaps the banks should be required to publish information about where modified machines have been found to help raise awareness of the problem. Finding out that your local ATM had been modified would help increase vigilance.

Does anyone know how many ATMs have been tampered with in the UK?

Biggles says:
11 April 2015

Everyone should have a hobby, wavechange.

Cheek. 🙂 I don’t go out of my way to check ATMs and I have no intention of walking around staring at a smartphone, which seems to be the most popular occupation of those on the move.

Removing ATM’s with a JCB seems quite hard to defeat! Happened in South Cave late February one of eight raids in the area since December.
7th – February 23: JCB used to steal cash machine from petrol station in Lea Road, Gainsborough.
6th – January 31: ATM stolen using heavy machinery at Tesco store, High Street, Crowle, near Scunthorpe.
5th – January 27: Cash machine stolen in ramraid in Hatfield.
4th – January 11: JCB teleporter used to remove cash machine from Spar shop in Gainsborough.
3rd – December 16: Forklift truck used to take cash machine at One Stop shop on Station Road, Epworth, near Scunthorpe.
2nd – December 9: JCB was used to steal a cash machine from a Co-op store in Blyth, Nottinghamshire.
1st: December 8: JCB used to take cash machine from Co-op shop on High Street in Harthill, near Rotherham.

This article though from 2012 makes very interesting reading.

I shall continue paying in cash in a sealed envelope at my local post office which is a coop shop.
Haven’t had any problems for the last half century or so and ensuring that a cheque is crossed leaves little room for skulduggery at reputable stores or cash points.
My concern over smart ATMs is they are like smart meters for energy – add absolutely nothing to being able to monitor one’s usage at a huge cost to install. Government IT project management methods seem to be invading everywhere.

I have been paying cash and cheques into my Nationwide account through an ATM on the outside of the branch for years and there have never been any problems. The deposit is sealed in an envelope and a receipt is issued. It would be useful to have a facility to use an ATM at, say, a Nationwide branch to pay money into a Santander account because our nearest branch is many miles away. I would not be so happy to use a cash deposit facility outside busy periods at some of the other locations where ATM’s are found, like outside supermarkets, petrol stations, and railway stations where people hanging about might not always be a good thing.

ATM’s inside branches of various banks seem to be able to perform a range of functions but there need to be several of them because some customers undertake a number of transactions. It creates another dilemma – which queue to join? Shall I wait for a machine to become available or stand in line for a teller? I’ve noticed that several banks and building societies employ a member of staff to work the personal service queue and try to get people to use a machine, and they keep an eye on the ATM’s helping any customers who are struggling.

Harry mentioned that you could use a ‘smart’ ATM to clear cheques. How does that work?

And Patrick said “you will be able to deposit cash from any bank’s cashpoint into an account with any other bank” – does that mean you have to first take the cash out and then pay it back in again but with a different destination? Seems like a strange way to make an inter-bank funds transfer.

Diesel Taylor reported the spate of ATM ram raids in the East Midlands where thieves drove stolen JCB’s straight through the wall and pulled the machines out on the forks. Perhaps that’s why they are sometimes called ‘hole-in-the-wall’ machines. It was happening across East Anglia until a gang was arrested a few months ago; sometimes the whole building was on the brink of collapse. I don’t believe any customers lost any money, but they might not have been deposit-taking machines and in any case the customers would have their receipt and presumably the audit data trail would be secure [I hope]. In London, of course, thieves are more sophisticated; they abseil down a lift shaft, drill through two metres of reinforced concrete, empty the deposit boxes, and take the CCTV recorder. Even if the police had responded to the alarm signal it’s doubtful that they would have spotted anything suspicious so well was the raid executed. All the makings of a movie I should think.

This is very similar to thriller shown on BBC4 earlier this year – set in Belgium or France – can’t remember title….when I heard the news I wondered if the robbers had seen that film. In the fictional robbery, owners of the deposit boxes did not want to report their losses because of the content of the boxes..

Hi John, smart ATM features are still to be defined but it would make sense that you could make transfers between banks without having to withdraw the money first!

It’s those pesky coins in the petty cash that need banking regularly……
With a machine one is not completely certain that the transaction has been successful until confirmation arrives on the statement. and if one accidently pushes a wrong button or two and the machine locks up -for security – there’s no one to put it right. How much more pleasant it is to just talk to the bank staff, This human interaction makes the world go round, domestically speaking, and the argument that machines are more efficient and always open confines us to a world where automatons rule supreme. There’s a happy balance to be struck. Perhaps the debate should be about the modern world and whether modern means ultra efficient clinical super-highway living or whether there might just be a place for us to transact personally regardless of the extra expense.

If I pay by cash I try to give the right money to avoid being given change. Some of the supermarkets have machines that will count coins and produce a voucher, though I have not needed to use one.

Press 1 to complain about the lack of personal service. 🙁

Paul says:
11 April 2015

Why is it designated as a ‘smart’ machine? It is simply running through a set of pre-programmed instructions and following the logic embedded in them.

It’s probably something to do with marketing, trying to encourage us into thinking that the new ATMs are a good idea. That approach has worked well with smartphones but not so well with smart meters.

El Compadre says:
11 November 2015

Whilst those ‘Smart’ phones are actually turning people into mindless robots (look around you and see for yourself). Assume if the technology doesn’t sell itself (i.e. if it is heavily-marketed and pressure-sold) that it is the OPPOSITE of how they describe it. Good technology sells itself by word of mouth, like anything else. Funny how we still haven’t learnt to resist the marketing-industrial-complex, isn’t it?

Colin Congdon says:
11 April 2015

Smart ATMs? As one of the older people you mention, I use cash for payments up to around £25. So I often visit my nearest ATM. And have to stand on one foot and then the other as someone in front takes ages to sort out their affairs, and slowly counts their cash. The idea that I might have to wait while a succession of tradesmen pay in their day’s takings fills me with horror. One step forward, two steps back.

Jeff long says:
11 April 2015

Online banking for me
Which always says to many gadgets on anything,to many things to go wrong.
Cash machines and cash back for me.
I thank you.

Good in principle, but:
1. This would extend queues at ATM’s. Just leave them for cash only.
2. ATM banking would just allow the banks to close more high street facilities enabling them to enlarge their profits still further and forcing customers to stand at an outside ATM carrying out their transactions in all sorts of weather.

Jacki Edwards says:
11 April 2015

i would place cash in an ATM provided the bank did NOT take 3 days to make the value of the deposit available!

Robert says:
11 April 2015

What happens when you are paying in a number of cheques via ATM and the service centre says one (or more) were missing? I have had this when I posted some cheques; I know I sent the one they said was missing. The only way to be sure that the bank has received the cheques (or cash) is to have the teller check and sign for them at the time.

If a cheque goes missing you can request that it is reissued by the relevant organisation, though there may be a charge.

Personally I would be wary of depositing cash – I like to get a cashier’ stamp as evidence of receipt. If a smart atm is broken into (and they will be) what guarantees are banks giving to their customers?

Similarly if I deposit several cheques presumably I get a receipt – but if one is missing on the statement received from the bank – how is that going to be resolved?

Ian says:
11 April 2015

I’ve been using one within a branch for a couple of years now. It’s rather particular about how to present cheques, but will accept cash and cheque deposits without error. It gives a receipt, including a copy of the cheque(s) if required. It doesn’t really make much difference to me whether it’s in a branch or not as long as the bank guarantees it hasn’t been interfered with and will presumably put them in secure locations.

I also agree it’s time for banks to discard the 3 days clearing rule – they can do electronic transfers instantly, so why not for cheques too?

Modern technology is one of the biggest bugs that bring misery to thousands, We are told that they are safe to use but most people know someone who have fallen foul of secure sites & lost money or have had headaches trying to get things back on line. Some say why worry the banks will sort things out but stop & think who do you think is paying Yes You by higher bank charges or in other ways, do you really think they loose the money, I wish. The best thing Banks can do instead of closing branches would be to all use one premises & keep somewhere where we can be spoken to or get receipts put in you hand. Why have people no time to do anything nowadays even when handling there hard earned cash. We collect cash for spending from the counter or use a chip & pin card for everything & never have had any problems. When you all use these new systems & everything on the high street has closed, what will you do when things go wrong with nowhere to go or no one to speak to. I know what I want as it has worked faultlessly for us for over 60 years.

ALL Bank cards can be used to withdraw cash at all POST OFFICE branches plus cash and cheque deposits can be made for most banks, as a bonus you get to speak to a REAL PERSON.