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With online banking in question, ATMs remain a safe bet

With online banking in question, ATMs remain a safe bet

ATMs are and remain the centerpiece of a changing banking ecosystem. While independent operators continue to run them as cash dispensaries, many banks seek to evolve their capabilities in the sector. The addition of check and cash deposits enables customers to complete the most common tasks that typically require going into a branch. Banks expect more features to follow, from paying bills to mobile device-based entry. It comes during a time where branches orient less toward handling cash and more to offering special services. As other changes in the financial services industry occur, there's a certain benefit to maintaining the branch system in some capacity, however.

ATMs and branches feel more secure than online banking options

One of the major trends that changed banking in the last decade is online banking. There is a certain convenience to paying bills, taking out loans and making cash transfers through the Internet. In fact, there are some banks out there that solely exist on the Web, without any physical presence. However, with fraud a prevalent factor, security remains a top priority on the minds of many customers, enough that most are hesitant to fully utilize online banking as a service.

A recent survey from Kapersky Labs cited by ATM Marketplace sheds light on the situation. According to the report, 49 percent of consumers felt vulnerable when making any financial transactions online, while 54 percent said going to a branch to complete a transaction was more reliable than doing that online. In addition, 46 percent felt offline banking was safer than using the Internet to make a transaction. Still, at least 79 percent of users made payments online using their desktop or laptop, while 52 percent use their tablets. Taking into account the fact that 20 percent of users do nothing to protect their financial data online, security becomes a major problem.

With this in mind, brick-and-mortar banks may be more appealing to the average consumer for various reasons. For one, it's often more comfortable to talk to someone directly rather than over the phone or through emails. Secondly, because fraud is so prevalent, the idea that the transaction stays within the bank is a reassurance to many consumers. Finally, while many of these online banks allow the use of third-party ATMs, they don't have many of the advanced features such as remote deposit capture and bill payments. With this in mind, physical banks with large ATM deployments may benefit from this current mood.

December 22, 2015