If you’re in charge of the ATM fleet at your credit union, you’ve had a very busy past few years, upgrading machines to comply with new regulatory and software mandates. Requirements like Windows 7 compatibility and EMV compliance were so extensive, many credit unions purchased new, upgraded ATM machines, said CO-OP Financial Services Senior Product Manager Terry Pierce.
But as technology evolves and consumer expectations for self-service technology grow, those new machines may only have a shelf life of five years.
That means credit unions should start planning now to activate and upgrade hardware and software capability to add features that will serve members in the not-so-near future. If your credit union didn’t upgrade its ATM fleet recently, Pierce suggested looking to the future instead of current requirements before making the capital expenditure.
Here are four ATM features credit unions should start planning for now.
1. NFC technology
Big banks are already offering cardless ATM transactions, using near field communication technology that uses NFC to link with a mobile app, just like payments at point of sale. Bank of America currently offers customers the option to use NFC at 8,000 ATMs, and Wells Fargo has activated 5,000. Chase is also upgrading in-branch machines to NFC and said it would increase cash withdrawal limits to $3,000 at those ATMs during branch hours.
Crone Consulting estimated about 95,000 ATMs currently support cardless cash service. Pierce said even more big bank ATMs are equipped with NFC reader hardware and will activate them all over the next couple of years.
2. Windows 10
Windows 10 was released in July 2015, and Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 in 2020. If they haven’t already, ATM operators must upgrade to the Windows 10 OS to ensure compliance with PCI security standards. Since that’s only three years from now, all ATM purchases must ensure the machines can be upgraded to Windows 10.
The ATM Industry Association said Windows 10 includes important cybersecurity benefits for ATM operators; most importantly, advanced malware protection. While some credit unions may choose to put off the upgrade as long as possible, the malware protection presents a compelling business case to make the Windows 10 upgrade a priority.
Windows 10 also accommodates Microsoft’s “a single Windows for everything” philosophy, which aims to improve system-wide compatibility.
3. Remote monitoring software
As credit unions increase the percentage of transactions that are performed using self-service technology, and ATMs are configured to perform more transactions using a variety of user interface methods, ATM performance will become even more important. As a result, the ability to remotely track when machines go offline or run low on cash is crucial. ATM fleet monitoring software can also remotely fix the machine without relying upon relatively slow and expensive “feet on the street” technical support. If a technician is needed to repair the machine in person, the software can provide valuable information regarding the problem, which can assist the technician and minimize downtime
4. Improved user interface
In addition to NFC access, Pierce said ATM interface design is increasingly utilizing tile-based or card-based design, which is more pleasing for users, instead of traditional screens that present menu choices as a column or row of buttons. Now that touch screen technology is mainstream, buttons on electronic devices are passé, and likewise, vertical button interfaces are, too. Card-based design relies heavily on visuals rather than text. Studies have shown that images draw the user’s eye more efficiently, thus improving the user experience.
Personalized user interface layout is also growing in popularity, as more financial institutions use customers’ user history data to determine which menu buttons appear at the top of the tile layout, or are color coded to attract attention.
“When it comes to ATMs, there’s always something that requires forward thinking,” Pierce said. “In the near future, most ATM planning involves features that enhance the user experience.