US ATM manufacturer Diebold has been granted five US patents covering applications that will enable mobile devices to interact directly with banks' cash machines.
The patents, which have been granted over the past 18 months, will enable banks to extend the range of mobile banking services currently offered, such as balance checks and fund transfers, says Diebold.
One of the new patented technologies will enable customers to use their mobile handsets to interact with an ATM by using the phone display and keypad, instead of the ATM screen. Customers will also be able to use mobile devices to locate and get directions to the nearest ATM.
Another application enables ATMs to communicate with mobile devices through a wireless network, says the vendor, which could allow two or more customers to simultaneously conduct transactions with the cash machine.
Another patented technology will enable users to "order" cash withdrawals remotely using their mobile handsets. This technology offers protection against card-skimming or PIN surfing at ATMs, since the mobile phone becomes the customer's input device to the ATM.
Customers will also be able to use their handsets to generate electronic cheques that can be used in banks or at the pos.
Jim Block, director, global advanced technology, Diebold, says the patented technology has the potential to offer myriad applications to boost the convenience and personal security factors of using an ATM.
Block says no provider is offering systems with the features covered by the patents yet, but Diebold is in discussions with technology partners to develop applications based on the technology.
"The know-how to marry mobile devices to ATMs has been lab-tested by Diebold's engineers and could be in users' hands within three to five years, facilitating faster ATM transactions and more of them, in more places and at more hours," he says.