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ATMs the cornerstone of self-service banking

ATMs represent a great opportunity for self-service banking.

ATMs represent a lot of potential for banks that are seeking to do more for their customers. After all, they have allowed people to more efficiently receive money that they need for their daily needs. Self-sufficiency is increasingly becoming important in today's economy, with patrons at financial institutions feeling that they can get the things they want done faster when they do it themselves. The ATM represents that need for quickness and self-sufficiency. Many ATMs are already doing functions previously reserved for tellers, such as making check and cash deposits. However, these movements represent an evolution toward greater customer autonomy and the ability for consumer to have some control through self-service banking.

ATMs a first step in self-service banking

Self-service banking is considered the next step forward in banking services. Consulting firm Research and Marketing Strategies describes them as financial kiosks. The original form could be considered ATMs, where users can check balances and withdraw money. However, as these kiosks develop, there are more features being added. For example, customers can cash checks by combining check deposits with cash withdrawals. If there is need to send out a money order to a business partner or a friend, a patron can complete it there. In addition, a self-service kiosk can easily print out bank checks, which can be useful if a person needs to make a large transaction and isn't allowed to do so through a personal check. Another option is to pay bills while on the go.

All of these features basically remove the need for customers to wait in line and interact with bank tellers. Consequently, there's been a shift towards teller displacement. ATM Marketplace, citing a study from the Mercator Advisory Group, reported that more people were likely to use self-service stations than tellers in 2014. That is a sea change from as recent as 2012, when it was the opposite.

For many banks, having a full-function ATM system can be a step toward self-service. Being able to perform different forms of cash and check deposits will be a great asset to customers that either don't want to wait in line or want to put money into their accounts on their own time. As customers seek more freedom in how they bank, financial institutions should be there to help them out through these machines.

June 8, 2015