ATMs went through a challenging year in 2020, but as the industry comes out of the pandemic, a question emerges: What’s on the horizon?
Panelists during a panel at ATMIA from June 23 to 25 in Las Vegas offered the lessons they have learned from the pandemic as well as what they see on the horizon. David Tente, executive director USA, Canada and Americas ATMIA moderated a panel with Brad Browder, CEO, HTx Services, Daryl Cornell, CEO, Triton Systems and Manish Nathwani, SVP, Product Development, Shazam Inc.
When looking at the pandemic, ecommerce obviously took a big chunk out of traditional transactions and bank branches, but not as much as one might expect.
Browder said, for example, that many bank branches didn’t close because of lack of demand. Rather, they closed because tellers wouldn’t come to work, he said.
“The only access people had to cash was through ATM, whether at Walmart or through a drive-thru,” Browder said.
Cornel also said this pandemic put a big focus on those ATMs at closed branches. In fact, he said they saw dramatic increase in transactions and traffic.
Mathwani said that while the overall the amount of people visiting those ATMs went down, the average cash transaction went up. In addition customers still had a desire to “visit ATMs for other services while branches were closed,” Mathwani said.
One big topic the panelists addressed was how cryptocurrency is changing ATMs, as many ATMs begin to adopt bitcoin.
Mathwani said that the right questions to ask around this subject are, “Why do people want to buy crypto? Is there trust in crypto, or is it a desire to diversify using ATM functions?”
Cornel said, “It’s another transaction set for customers to leverage estates to gain revenue. Operators need to find ways to leverage their estates. Crypto transaction is a way to do that.”
On the other hand, Browder said that larger banks will wait and see how cryptocurrency goes.
The panelists also looked at major acquisitions in the ATM industry and whether such acquisitions will continue.
Browder said most of these acquisitions have been the “same buying the same” or stated another way, one ATM vendor acquiring another. He also said if ATMs aren’t growing, you can either, “steal from competition or make acquisition.”
Cornell said this is just another example of a mature market, which isn’t unique to ATMs.
When asked how this would impact small operators with small fleets, Cornell said that generally speaking, “Big guys will get bigger,” and smaller entities will survive with their high service levels and deeper relationships. But those with mid-sized fleets are more likely to get gobbled up by acquisitons.
“If you don’t go digital you’re in trouble,” Mathwani said.
During the panel, the participants also addressed a variety of trends, in particular, how ATMs are moving in two different directions and the importance of keeping up with digital trends.
Cornell, for example, said the, “Future is multi-feature ATMs.”
However, a lot of customers just want a quick transaction from a simple ATM. The future will thus be a push and pull between the high-tech video multi -unctional ATMs and the more basic fast ATMs.
On a similar topic, the panelists also emphasized that suppliers need to keep up with digital trends, such as different forms of authentication through mobile phones vs. a card.
“If you don’t go digital you’re in trouble,” Mathwani said. “Networks have to be open to other ways to authenticate.”
In other words, operators need to be open to change, while still acknowledging the tried-and-true methods.