Web-enabled automated teller machines (ATM) are taking off across Europe and the United States, according to a new brief from Datamonitor.
The brief, "Off-side and enhanced functionality ATMs", predicts that Web-enablement is changing the role of ATMs as financial and non-financial services distribution media.
With new developments on the horizon to Web and audio-enable ATMs, products and services that could be distributed via ATMs include postage stamps, phone cards, passport photographs, travel reservations, and cinema-booking services, suggests Datamonitor.
The research shows Spain is leading Europe in ATM innovation, with consumers already able to buy tickets to cinemas, theatres, sporting events and concerts, as well as pay bills, make cash or cheque deposits, and credit prepaid mobile phone cards. Spanish bank La Caixa has 6500 ATMs of which 1300 allow users to perform some of these functions. All 3300 of Caja Madrid's ATMs provide this functionality. In 2002, Caja Madrid plans to add functionality that will allow users to get change back in the form of coins when they pay their bills at ATMs.
In the UK, Abbey National, Orange and Euronet are currently piloting a 'mobile top up' service which if successful will be made available from Abbey National's 3000 ATMs later this year. Orange has been distributing 'pay-as-you-go top up' vouchers via ATMs in Belgium for the last three years, with 30 per cent of its 'pay-as-you-go' customers currently using the service.
Across the water in the United States, New York City's transit authority has begun to make 'metrocard' tickets available via ATMs. Currently, 51 ATMs dispense around 8000 tickets each month. Participating financial institutions include JP Morgan, Chase and Carver Federal Savings.
However, Alex Boorman, Datamonitor's financial services analyst, warns: "The success of ATM providers' attempts to improve ATM functionality will depend upon two factors; the successful implementation of technology and a change in the way that consumers view ATMs. Whilst the technology is now available to take ATMs forward, it is more difficult to anticipate consumer demand for enhanced functionality ATMs."