The role of the ATM is changing with society’s diminished requirement for cash, and the increase in the use of mobile and digital payments.
As a result, there are many innovations happening around the world to keep ATMs relevant and useful to society. However, how ATMs develop in the hospitality industry, mainly pubs and clubs, could differ. There are signs that the modern venues are becoming a one-stop entertainment and lifestyle destination, with sporting facilities, entertainment offerings, bars and restaurants, and shopping, as well as gaming. Could it be that ATMs in pubs and clubs also evolve to serve a broader purpose than just cash access?
The truth about cash
As digital payments become more commonplace right across the globe, there is some speculation that cash will disappear from society as soon as 2025.
Ron Delnevo, the head of the ATM Industry Association of Europe disagrees, saying “We are not seeing the use of cash falling away dramatically. The closure of bank branches is actually an opportunity for new-style smart ATMs, which will be the ‘touch point’ for you and your money on the high street and in shopping centres. We will be able to carry out 99% of the transactions we do in bank branches at ATMs instead.”
Closer to home, the RBA states that Australian consumers are using electronic payments in preference to cash for many transactions, however it looks as though there will still be a role for cash in the future, albeit a niche one.
So what does this trend mean for the future of ATMs?
Rethinking ways to use ATMs
ATMs are clever machines that revolutionised the self-service access to cash over 50 years ago. With around 11,000 working components and a network to smart software systems, the ATM is one of the most sophisticated inventions of its time. Quite rightly ATM suppliers across the world are rethinking ways to use ATM technology which many believe is far from defunct.
Travel and Leisure magazine featured this innovative Brooklyn bar that has a beer ATM, for example. Capitalising on the preference for self-serve, they have repurposed the ATM functionality to pay out in beer, rather than cash.
Meanwhile, mobile ATMs are helping merchants across the globe to deposit large sums of cash in a more secure and convenient way.
In other news, find the right machine in the right location and you can now even buy bitcoin via non bank-operated ATMs.
ATM technologies that will improve customer experience
The development of modern technologies to keep the ATM relevant and useful in the broader community are simultaneously in motion.
NAB has been trialling artificial intelligence facial recognition that will enable customers to withdraw cash without their card or phone. The hope is that it will reduce the incidence of fraudulent transactions, as well as improving the customer experience.
The future of ATMs in the hospitality industry
Australia’s pub and clubs are a little more dependent on cash than many, thanks to strict gaming regulations. Therefore, having an ATM dispense cash to patrons will remain a core service within this industry.
However, ATM suppliers like Banktech are firmly focused on usage trends. Seeing ever more services being moved to smartphones, and a pub and club industry that is evolving to offer more relevant and useful services in one destination, perhaps it is also time to rethink the role of ATMs in the industry.
“Pubs and Clubs recycle cash through their venues, and have a strong focus on security,” explains Henry Kiwarkis, GM of Sales at Banktech. “At the same time, consistent closures of bank branches, post offices and news agencies has led to diminished access to varied payment and financial services. So, we’ve decided to transition the ATM into the digital age.”
Banktech sees the opportunity for pub and club ATMs to offer greater utility, and has re-imagined the role of the ATM with its ATMPlus product. An ATM that has the capability to offer a wide range of transactions, such as depositing funds into wallets, paying bills, topping up Opal cards, converting foreign currency and more, Banktech aims to enable the cash infrastructure to support digital transactions.
So what does the future look like?
There is no denying that digital payments are on the rise and that the role of cash in society is narrowing. For Australia’s hospitality industry, mainly pubs and clubs, where cash is still required, there is an opportunity to think about the products and services that can bridge the gap between the cash and digital world, as well as offer diverse utility that will be valuable to members and customers.
Want to learn more about how Australia’s top venues are using technology to stay ahead of the curve? Our free ebook Pubs and Clubs of the Future gives real-life examples of how today’s best-performing venues stay popular and profitable. Download it now.