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Peter Roberts

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Peter Roberts - UCL

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A post relating to this item from Finextra:

ATM:ad firm i-design to float on AIM

16 July 2007  |  4633 views  |  0
UK ATM advertising agency i-design is planning to raise around £3.5 million by floating its shares on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Friday.

Why are ATMs so rubbish?

16 July 2007  |  3220 views  |  1

You queue and queue.
You enter your PIN.
You have an overwhelming urge to wash your hands in bleach - the thing's filthy.
You choose the cash option (no receipt since you're eco-friendly).
You choose an amount from the menu and wait.
At this point it says "You can't have that amount - only 20 pound notes available".

Would it have been SO difficult to tell me that IN ADVANCE? Meanwhile the queue behind is getting impatient. If this happens for every customer in the queue I predict a riot.

And the NO and YES buttons seem to change places on some ATMs during the same transaction. There is no consistency. Is this stuff tested on users?

In fact the one outside Tooting Broadway tube was showing some sort of Windows login screen error for two days running. 

All this is bad enough but please save me from ads on the dratted things. It's like going into the Post Office for some stamps and their trying to flog me a credit card. No!

Just out of interest - anyone know what OS they tend to run these days on ATMs? 

TagsRetail banking

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 01 August, 2007, 16:40 Most ATMs in the UK are now running Windows, which is at least partially to blame for the lack of stability of today's ATMs.

To answer why they're so rubbish, we just need to look at the economics of an ATM. The software application component is typically less than 5% of the overall cost of an ATM when bought from the main ATM manufacturers. Until the advent of open standards, banks would source their ATMs and ATM software from a single supplier. ATM software has been chronically underinvested in over the last 10 years as the main ATM vendors view the market largely as an exercise in selling hardware. The move to Windows has only taken place over the last few years, as IBM’s OS/2 has been slowly dying off as the dominant ATM operating system (that's how far behind the ATM industry is, but at least it worked!).

A few factors are changing the way the market is thinking about ATMs and the functionality they are capable of:

  • Recently introduced open standards (XFS) in ATMs are effectively commoditising the ATM hardware market by enabling the separation of software and hardware at the ATM, ie allowing them to be sourced independently
  • Network infrastructure is now largely high bandwidth TCP/IP enabling proper software distribution (think graphics and branding) and a move away from the dumb terminal approach
  • Software is becoming seen as the key differentiator to a bank's ATM service provision and is finally attracting a great deal more attention from the banks
Problems like getting to the end of a transaction only to find out that there are only £20 notes available as well as providing a consistent and stable customer experience can be easily sorted by moving on from the 20 year-old software architectures still largely prevalent in today's ATMs, and looking to software to solve the problem of unlocking value from the ATM.
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job title Moodle support
location London
member since 2008
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I was the technical lead on the Finextra family of web sites from 1999 to 2009. I'm at UCL these days supporting Moodle.

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