In 1995, an average ATM processed 4,896 transactions per month with a value of $616,123. By 2004, that had reduced to 2,915 transactions per month with a value of $491,805 and today an average ATM processes 2,087 transactions with a value of $396,314.
The emergence of e-commerce as a threat to bricks and mortar retail is changing the way shoppers purchase and pay.
The development of payment card technology that dispenses with a PIN for transactions below $100 in value is changing the way shoppers pay.
This is true not just in Australia, but also in New Zealand. Over the past 3 years, an average credit card purchase in Australia has dropped from $144 to $135 whilst in New Zealand it has declined from $99 to $93.
That lower figure in New Zealand reflects that New Zealanders are already far more likely to use cards for small value purchases rather than cash – a result of historically lower card fees.
Forthcoming enhanced mobile payment technologies will further alter the way we pay. The common feature is a digital payment product that reduces the need for cash.
The ATM will be around for a very long time. In part, this is because we will not see the cashless society for a very long time. Consumers still require cash and they demand the ability to access it when it suits them rather than when the bank is open.
We continue to see enhancements such as cardless withdrawals and value-add features such as the ability to change a PIN and these satisfy our increasing requirements for convenience and flexibility.
In much the same way, the positioning of the bank branch has shifted from an account access centre with limited availability to a sales and service facility to cater for the increasingly complex needs of our changing lifestyles.
Once threatened by the ATM and the technology it represented, the branch today is recognised as not only a physical manifestation of the banking entity and the security it denotes, but a centre capable of delivering the more complex services needed by today’s society.
Maybe it is premature to predict the ultimate demise of the ATM, but its primary role as a dispenser of cash is less and less important as less and less cash is used. Is it just a matter of time until this staple of late 20th century banking morphs into something else, or even disappears entirely?