The ATM market is shaking up
Although we are moving towards a cashless society, and its benefits are undeniable, ATMs still play an important role.
Reduced access to these might have unpredictable consequences for a number of industries besides the financial services – such as retail and hospitality.
The problem highlighted by the report by Which? is that there are too many cash machines in places where they are not needed, with around 80% located within 300 metres of other ATMs. Instead, we must vouch for a more homogenous spread of ATMs across all regions, giving consumers reasonable access to cash while keeping the maintenance costs low. As technology continues to change banking, we expects to see self-service devices, including ATMs, take on a new importance within branch operations.
We also expect to see the market increasingly look for ways of lowering the costs associated with maintaining an ATM estate. This will be seen in terms of power and energy savings, easier installation and simpler maintenance.
In particular, the costs associated with cash replenishment and machine maintenance are becoming a growing challenge for bank, leading to machines equipped with banknote recycling capabilities being deployed in markets where regulators permit such a capability.
From this perspective, yes – deploying and maintaining ATMs must be done in a strategic manner. This being said, with the rapidly changing consumer expectations, businesses and banks must keep in mind that placing a strain on communities that already struggle to access cash might backfire.