Innovation moves mobile-ATM alliances forward

30. November 2017.

Editor’s note:This commentary originally appeared in ATM Marketplace, a Mobile Payments Today sister publication.

By Colin Gordon, SelfServ Marketing Manager, NCR Corp.

In today’s increasingly dynamic, multichannel financial services industry, providers should always be looking for ways to break down barriers between the various methods consumers use to manage their money.

As easy as it might be to perceive a big divide between the modern-day mobile space and more traditional, physical banking via the branch and ATM, it’s becoming increasingly clear that these channels can function in harmony and complement one another.

Bringing the ATM and mobile together

One innovation that demonstrates what can be achieved when the mobile and ATM channels are brought together is MasterCard’s Cash Pick-Up.

This mobile cash disbursement service allows individuals or companies to send money to anyone with a valid mobile phone number, even if the recipient doesn’t have a bank account or debit card.

It could prove useful in situations where money needs to be sent and received as cash — in emergencies or when the recipient is unbanked, for example.

The service works in four stages:

  1. The disburser sets up a cash pick-up order.
  2. The issuing bank funds a virtual card.
  3. The recipient receives a text message with a cash pick-up order number, a four-digit PIN and directions to the nearest available ATM.
  4. The cash is dispensed when the codes are correctly entered into the machine.

As well as providing 24/7 emergency relief and delivering funds to the unbanked, MasterCard has said that Cash Pick-Up could provide faster payments of rewards and merchant rebates.

The service will be piloted in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2017, before being made available at retail stores across the country from the beginning of 2018.

Security and convenience through contactless

Contactless withdrawal is also helping to remove barriers between the mobile and physical banking channels.

Modern ATMs feature contactless readers compatible with card or mobile. This maximizes convenience for consumers while removing the threat of skimming, which is dependent on the card being physically inserted into the machine.

Bank of America is one of the institutions that have embraced this particular innovation. It has one of the largest contactless-enabled ATM networks, comprising some 10,000 machines.

Customers can log into the Bank of America app and select their desired withdrawal amount before reaching the ATM. They then hold their phone or card over the contactless symbol on the machine and enter their PIN, after which they see a personalized screen asking if they want to complete the withdrawal.

The bank has also added new capabilities to its contactless ATMs, including options for users to check balances, transfer funds and make deposits.

“With 23 million mobile customers and growing, improving the customer experience is always a top priority,” said Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at Bank of America. “By taking a customer-first approach to innovation, we continuously raise the bar to deliver new, personalized experiences.”

Modernization in banking channels will prove increasingly crucial as financial institutions look for ways to serve their customers more effectively, while maintaining security and cost efficiency for the business.

With consumers withdrawing the equivalent of $13.2 trillion in cash from ATMs in 2015, according to Retail Banking Research, it’s clear that ongoing innovation will be just as important in physical banking as it is in the mobile space. As a result, any remaining barriers between these channels will continue to shrink, to the benefit of the customer.

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