What Does the Future of Retail ATMs Hold?
ATMs are no longer the domain of banks. Now, businesses ranging from standalone gas stations to large supermarkets give people easy means to access their money by using retail ATMs. While these ATMs are typically not as feature-rich as ATMs owned by banks and credit unions, it appears that the future of retail ATMs might bridge the existing gap. Besides, the industry also needs to prepare for technological advancements.
TR-31 Key Block Upgrades
The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) has mandated the use of TR-31, the new global standard for the transfer of keys to ATMs, from January 1, 2025. This means ATMs that rely on traditional electronic PIN pads (EPPs) will cease to function after this date. A possible drawback that retail ATM owners might face is the need to deal with longer-than-usual wait times to get upgraded machines. Consequently, proactively choosing to upgrade while there’s still plenty of time might be the ideal way to go.
Bridging the Bank and Retail ATM Divide
The introduction of cost-effective ATMs with small footprints that could fit even in small spaces during the late 90s witnessed a significant rise in their use across the U.S. This was mainly because large bank-grade ATMs required considerable space. The fact that most ATM operators viewed the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for cash-in/cash-out machines as a deterrent did not help. Besides, even in instances where TCO was not a concern, operators had to deal with providing limited features, and accepting deposits required setting up agreements with different banks separately.
Now, ATM operators get to choose from various smaller cash-in/cash-out machines. There’s been a significant reduction in TCO, which is helping operators to invest more in hardware as well as services. For example, ATM owners can now give their customers the ability to make deposits, pay bills, and even buy cryptocurrency. The way things are progressing, it’s safe to assume that one may expect the future of ATMs to include even more features.
Consolidation of the Industry
ATM manufacturers are investing heavily on product extensions, core replacement acceleration, non-hardware features, crypto ATMs, and other evolving technologies. What’s also happening at the same time is an increase in the number of acquisitions by large companies such as Euronet, NCR, Cennox, and Brinks. Going forward, it seems likely that even more small manufacturers may choose to sell owing to high debt levels and/or the absence of organic growth.
Space is often a constraint when it comes to retail ATM placement, and it’s no surprise that ATM owners wish to maximize the value they receive. While value comes in the form of the revenue you earn every time someone uses your ATM, increased foot traffic into your store is usually a bigger benefit. ATM companies, on their part, need to work with retailers to make sure that the placement of machines and signage is conducive to increasing awareness of their presence. New innovations in ATM technology are also helping address various ATM security challenges faced by the industry until now.
While the number of bank ATMs continues to fall, the reverse holds true for retail ATMs. Going forward, one may also expect to see cash recycling ATMs that merge with existing cash ecosystems of stores, incorporating point of sale (POS), self-check-out kiosks, order and pay kiosks, and smart safes. Consequently, if you’re thinking about investing in a retail ATM, discussing your needs with an ATM provider that keeps up with changing times might be the way to go.