ATMs, Kiosks Continue to Evolve

Technology gives CUs the edge in delivery systems and marketing.

July 1, 2012

As commonplace as ATMs, kiosks, and display screens have become, their capabilities and connectivity keep evolving.

The trend in ATM design “is toward a higher level of predictive analytics, the ability to feed real-time information to the cloud, and increasingly ‘smart’ modules,” says Jim Block, Diebold’s director of advanced development/technology.

“Credit unions want better ATM availability—less downtime and fewer mechanical or communication problems, which is what these predictive features provide,” adds Chris Rowe, Diebold’s vice president of self-service products.

One way the company provides those capabilities is with its OpteView® Resolve™ software. “OpteView provides status reports,” says Rowe, “and helps us remotely avert down situations.”

Take, for example, an internal device that loses touch with the ATM’s PC. “Sometimes, fixing it can be as simple as resetting the device, which we can do remotely,” Rowe explains. “There’s no need to send out a service person. In cases where remote fixes don’t work, OpteView can provide detailed information about problems so service people can arrive onsite with the tools or parts they’ll need.”

Another feature Diebold is developing for its ATMs is 4G LTE wireless communication capabilities. “When an ATM has information to convey about its status or alarm events, it has to rely on the ATM network to report it or allow Diebold to extract relevant information,” says Block. “But if you have a separate channel—a private-secured 4G connection to the ATM—you can bypass the first channel,” which prevents overloading it or waiting for it to clear.

Rowe says 4G capability also allows credit unions to tailor offers to members at the ATM. “Our software, Campaign Office, knows who members are via their ATM card data. It scans for relevant information, such as maturing certificates, and suggests what to do with them.”

The screens make these announcements, Rowe says, and allow the member to talk to an expert about a particular product.

Looking ahead, Block says Diebold wants to see how closely delivery channels can be joined. For example, a parent could start a $100 withdrawal on a smartphone app and then pass the transaction to a child at college who could then complete the transaction at an ATM.

He’s certain this kind of cross-channel connectivity will happen “within two or three years.”

The ‘big, hungry monster’

Cost-conscious credit unions often have one- or two-person marketing departments—putting those employees under great pressure. That’s why many marketers turn to displays, says Jon VanderMeer, president/founder of Kiosk & Display Co.

But creating content for these displays takes a high degree of technical expertise and time—VanderMeer calls content “a big, hungry monster”—and marketers often reach the point where they stop updating the content and run the same information over and over. “That’s when people stop looking,” he says.

Kiosk & Display provides custom content—beyond generic templates—with relevant messages that connect with consumers, VanderMeer says.

He says digital displays must provide a balance of content and sales information. “Present product information less than 50% of the time. The rest should be relevant and interesting feeds or local community notices. By having its displays function as a community bulletin board, a credit union can let members know how much it’s involved in the community.”

VanderMeer says it’s not uncommon for credit unions to move toward all-digital marketing materials. “One of our clients reached the point where it removed all printed collateral material and went exclusively to digital. The only complaints were from a few older customers who liked to visit the credit union and complained that its profits were being spent on digital hardware and displays.”

This led the credit union to create a one-page sheet tellers would hand to members that explained the reasons for the switch and the economies it presented. “The sheet became both a marketing tool and a way to assure concerned members,” VanderMeer says.

Another benefit to kiosks is that they free up employees’ time for selling and carrying out more complex transactions. “Their success depends on incenting managers to encourage kiosk use and show members how easy and convenient they are for routine transactions like paying bills, moving money around, and even initiating loan requests.”

NEXT:  Expanding ATMs’ reach

Expanding ATMs’ reach

For Cardtronics, the beauty of ATMs is their ability to connect people to their accounts at retailers already part of their daily routine.

“We help credit unions enhance their entire ATM fleet,” says Tom Pierce, chief marketing officer for Cardtronics.

The company offers two programs to help credit unions augment their financial center ATMs:

  1. Allpoint, a surcharge-free ATM networkwhich offers 35,000 ATMs in the U.S. and 8,000 machines internationally. The machines are easy to find using Allpoint’s free ATM locator app.
  2. ATM branding, wherein credit unions place their branding materials on Cardtronics-owned ATMs.

“Our ATMs are located in such retail giants as 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Kroger, Target, and Costco,” Pierce says. “Having branded ATMs in places like those raises visibility and lets members know they’ve reached a surcharge-free zone.”

The company also helps credit unions address regulatory and maintenance issues with their ATMs.

A recently enacted amendment to the Americans With Disabilities Act, for example, requires financial institutions to be more vigilant in terms of ATM accessibility.

“There are requirements for headphone jacks, space around the ATM,” and more, Pierce says. “This can create challenges for financial institutions that must choose between retrofitting old machines, investing in new ATMs, or taking noncompliant ATMs offline.”

Kiosk & Display Co.