How has the ATM evolved in recent years


Since launching in 1967, the ATM has become the most common way for banking customers to access cash wherever they are in the world. And in the early 2000s, ATMs hit their boom years and that’s when they really began to evolve. Over the last 15 years the ATM has gone from merely providing cash to facilitating most consumer banking transactions. Now with 3.2 million ATMs across the globe, the ATM can be a branch in a box—providing access to a full spectrum of financial services.

In the early 2000s, dual withdrawal and deposit ATMs were launched enabling banking customers to take money out as well as deposit cash. This added significant flexibility enabling banks to perform even more transactions from teller to ATM. This evolution has continued and today 95% of transactions can be completed at the ATM.

Cash Recycling – a seemingly small way FIs can benefit in a big way.

With ATMs taking cash in, cash recycling was the logical next development in ATM functionality.  By enabling cash deposited into the ATM to be recycled for withdrawal, financial institutions have significantly improved efficiencies in their cash management processes by reducing fulfillment needs.

Today, cash recycling is the largest growing ATM segment globally according to RBR, with the number of recycling ATMs predicted to rise by 25% over the next five years. This is largely due to financial institutions across the world hoping to use the technology to leverage operational efficiency across their estates.

ATMs that perform like a smartphone.

The biggest influence on recent ATM design has been the smartphone; a device that has changed the face of consumer electronics and set society on a path to digital domination. Since its launch and staggering pace of adoption, the form and function of ATMs has been built to mimic the smartphone consumer experience and reflect that same intuitive user experience.

From touchscreens, finger pinch and zoom, mobile authentication, to pre-staging transactions on a mobile and digital banking integration, banking customers now enjoy a similar experience at the ATM that they have on their handheld devices. So, now they can have a seamless connection from banking on their phone to banking at the ATM.

Contactless Banking.

In certain countries around the world, financial institutions are taking contactless to the next level, by enabling customers to use their mobile phone for authentication—removing the need to use the pin pad. And this contactless connection can go even further by using the financial institution’s banking app to pre-stage the entire transaction, with the ATM solely providing the cash after banking customers have tapped their smartphone on the contactless reader.

While this type of technology has not been seen in South Africa yet, it will not be long before this type of functionality and form will be made available. Contactless is certainly the wave of the future—particularly post COVID-19. There is now 1.3million contactless enabled ATMs in the world and this number is fast on the rise.

In the engine room – what enabled ATM innovation?

Without doubt this improved consumer experience could not happen without improvements in the engine room. The combination of hardware, software and services means that ATMs can offer all the functionality and user interface that banking customers want today as well as ensuring a more streamlined operation that can easily integrate into the wider banking ecosystem.

We are always one step ahead.

At Spark ATM Systems, the leading independent deployer of ATMs in South Africa, innovation is at the heart of all that we do. From installation, servicing and maintenance of ATMs as well as anti-microbial treatments to keep our users safe, Spark ATM is committed to continually evolving to ensure our ATMs provide an easy, convenient and safe banking experience, now and in the future.