Your ATMs & deposit automation

The ATM machine is constantly evolving.  Remember the blue screen and basic white text that used to prompt your next move?  How about the buzz of the 28.8k modem kicking on to dial your request up to the mother ship?  In today’s marketplace, the ATM is more than just a means for a member to get cash. It’s an extension of your service and brand.  

Your ATM provides needed access. Whether as a walk-up unit in a SEG facility or even if it’s located in your drive-thru lane around the side of the branch.  It’s a unique touchpoint. And you need to capitalize on this opportunity. But, what features and functionality are truly critical for your ATM? In the ATM world, cash is king (as if there was any doubt).  But, what other capabilities does your ATM need?

Well, for many of us, figuring that question out can be an expensive headache.  Let’s discuss deposits. Some of you offer the deposit function at the ATM. Some ATMs still accept deposits using the old envelope approach but most now are converting to the check image deposit technology.  Imaging the check at the ATM creates some efficiencies for your members and your staff. The member inserts each check one-at-a-time without the need of an envelope and receives a receipt with the check images printed out for confirmation.  

On the staff side, the check image software can add the ATM check images to your teller line’s daily check deposit work.  This eliminates the manual process of opening those envelopes and manually assigning the deposits in your core system. So, there is the member benefit of ease of use and the internal operational efficiency as well.  But, at what cost?

Image-enabled ATMs come at a significant cost over the standard cash-dispensing ATMs.  In some cases, the capital expense will double when adding the check image technology. And your first and second-line maintenance costs can double as well.  If you choose to accept check and cash at the image deposit you have to consider the networks you work with as some do not have the capability to separate the two types of deposits.  So, you will have to put a hold on all the items until they clear (including the cash deposits) which won’t make members happy.

Of course, for some of you it’s a wise investment.  I’ve seen reports on certain ATMs that are accepting over one thousand deposits per month.  But, that’s not even close to the norm. Many deposit taking ATMs don’t see fifty deposits per month.  At low volumes like that, these deposit capable ATMs are doing nothing but inflating ATM program cost.

When planning out your strategy for 2019 and beyond, don’t just consider the ATM use patterns of your current membership.  Consider the new members you want to acquire. Where do they go? What do they do? How can your ATM (or ATMs) better reach and serve members and put you in a position for growth.

Joe Woods

Joe Woods

Joe Woods, CUDE is a 15-year credit union veteran.  He has spent time with Corporate One FCU, Liberty Enterprises, co-founded Legacy Member Services and was part of the senior management ... Web: Details