Today marks the 50th anniversary of the ATM (the Automated Teller Machine in case you never knew), and Auriga is urging banks to seize the opportunities presented by the ATM as part of a shifting financial landscape and look at the opportunities the next 50 years bring. Below, Auriga explains to Finance Monthly what ATMs could really amount to for the banking sector and its customers.

“Brits still love their ATMs – they’re a key part of the banking process and are incredibly valuable. 43% of UK respondents to the survey using an ATM on a weekly basis so banks who don’t embrace the technology are missing out on a chance to communicate with their customers and build trust,” explains Mark Aldred, who leads Auriga’s International business.

But banks are running the risk of missing out on new revenue streams and opportunities. “1 in 10 UK consumers thinks the UK doesn’t have enough ATMs that can do more than just dispense cash,” explains Mark, “they’re much more than just cash machines now. They can process bill payments, exchange currency and even sell event tickets. The demand is there from UK customers, but banks now need to meet it.”

With bank branches around the country closing, ATMs can be the middle-ground approach between the ex branch and empty buildings with no contact at all. “A combination of self-service machines and staff could be the ticket to reviving the dwindling number of bank branches,” explains Mark, “this hybrid approach appeals most to customers, if banks can strike a balance between customer autonomy and personalised support and advice. Customers want more personalisation and ATMs are a great channel to deliver this - for example pre-set fast withdrawals for the customer who always takes out £70 for weekend expenses or allowing customers to set up their dashboard to meet accessibility needs. It all adds up to a better relationship and more trust with your customers, which can only be a good thing.”

The challenge for banks is to achieve these steps despite the constraints of sometimes outmoded legacy technologies. There are countless examples outside of UK where the right software could rejuvenate existing ATMs. That’s one of the reasons we started in this industry - we began in the Age of the Internet and challenging the internet banking market to be better than ever before and it was logical for us that the ATM could benefit from the same cloud based approach – it reduces the total cost of ownership, improves time to market and eases the development of new services.”

“What is needed is a mind-set change from the current position of offering very limited services and reducing operating cost as the single most important focus, to a more optimistic outlook of expanding revenue-generating consumer services with operating costs being only one management metric. The ATM is on the brink of some very exciting developments – with technology like artificial intelligence, data analytics and chatbots poised to bring an even better experience to the ATM – but without the right infrastructure in place banks could risk missing out” concludes Mark.