The evidence is there that people are definitely embracing new ways to shop – be it Amazon, iTunes or even supermarket shopping with home delivery. In many cases, cash isn’t even an option when paying at these new outlets – meaning consumers are forced to
use alternatives. The meteoric rise of PayPal is a good example of this. However, around the world consumers are still using cash in traditional face-to-face transactions – the movement in these areas does not seem as dramatic. Therefore, it is still just
as important that people can access cash when they need to.
Many of the historically unique points of an ATM have now been eroded, paying bills, airtime purchase, and transfers all can be done easier and more effectively with mobile or internet banking. The ATM has a unique selling point over all other forms of electronic
payments – it can handle money. The only other place you can do this is in the branch, and who goes in there anymore? The ATM provides interaction with the customer – but this too is no longer a unique selling point as more customers use electronic channels
to do their banking – a channel that has better interactivity and more opportunity to communicate with the customer.
I am showing my age when I describe the collective groan of a supermarket queue when somebody in front of you said those dreaded words – “can I pay by cheque?” Everyone knew that would delay the transaction. Any weekend visit to a mall be it in Asia, the
Middle East or in the Europe will still see queues at the ATM – highlighting that cash is still an important part of the worldwide purchasing chain. And as soon as someone starts doing multiple transactions – or non-cash transactions – I believe you can still
hear an audible groan in the queue
Getting cash is a chore – no one sees it as a benefit to spend longer doing chores. Banks have already acknowledged this in ATM deployments – allowing Customer Terminals that offer additional functionality to be separate from ATMs – but I believe the future
should be as cash only machine. Let the interaction happen at the mobile device – and let cash be king at the ATM.