Revolutionary ATMs

There is a revolution in our midst and the ATM is at its centre.

By the late 1990s almost all financial institutions were running their ATM (automatic teller machines) networks on IBM’s OS/2 operating system. The typical consumer experience of ATMs operating on OS/2 is the classic green screen, the ability to check balances, withdraw cash and print mini statements.

But on the ATM, OS/2 has had its day and is facing obsolescence. One reason is IBM’s decision to stop supporting it. The other is the drive by the banks to introduce new services and to cut costs.

Throughout the world, banks are putting renewed focus on branch strategy with branch renewal programs aimed at improving customer service and selling more effectively. They are looking to take basic teller functions such as deposits to ATMs. That will reduce queues, free tellers to sell more and cut costs. The banks are also developing sophisticated applications in areas such as CRM, which will run across both the teller and the ATM.

Currently, adding new services for consumers, improving security or compliance with disability legislation is costly and time consuming under OS/2.

In looking for a replacement most banks appear headed down the Windows path using open standards architecture. These standards include CEN XFS (extensions for financial services) which allow ATM environments to be operated by a single application. XFS-based applications can be developed once and deployed across the entire network.

By the end of this year in the UK, 33 per cent of ATMs run by banks will be on a Windows platform. In Australia and New Zealand, it is still early days, although the Bank of Queensland recently completed a total network move to Windows.

Beyond cash and deposit, it won’t be too long before the ATM can do funds transfers, mobile top-ups, bill payments and ticket dispensing, as well as becoming a one-on-one CRM vehicle.

Many banks have made substantial investments in their CRM systems. Integrating their ATM network into their CRM strategy optimises this investment and allows them to provide tailored messages over their most popular customer channel.

Justin Corles is vice president financial solutions division NCR South Pacific region

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