The humble ATM is a regular fixture in our lives, and it’s hard to imagine life without it. The first ATM was used in Enfield in June 1967, and there are now over 70,000 in the UK. The evolution of ATMs is well underway now, and we can expect to see many changes in the coming years.
In 2016, they dispensed £129 billion, according to The Guardian, and there were 2.1 billion withdrawals in 2016 from Link machines. So it’s clear that we are still withdrawing a lot of cash.
But it’s also clear that there is also less need for cash thanks to the rapid rise of contactless payments. So how will the ATM evolve, and what changes can we expect?
The idea with contactless ATMs is that you use a contactless card or smartphone to withdraw money. You simply tap your contactless card against the reader, or tap your phone against it, and then input your pin. The ATMs trialled by Barclays in 2016 allow users to withdraw up to £100.
Bitcoin has grown in popularity over recent years, and as more people become interested in buying the digital currency, ATMs have appeared that allow people to buy and sell it with greater ease.
These are appearing in more countries around the world, and they provide a simple way for the public to buy and sell the currency without a computer, bank account or access to the internet.
Biometric ATMs could become an important development. Barclays trialled these as far back as 2014, and they allow you to scan your finger to withdraw cash. They are already up and running in some countries, including Qatar.
AI is becoming increasingly important these days, and it is being integrated into more devices all the time – including ATMs. It is expected that ATMs will soon use AI to predict when maintenance is required, but it is still in its early stages.
The arrival of smart ATMs could even lead to them taking over the role of banks in many places. Smart ATMs could be used for nearly all of the main things we do in bank branches.
For example, some ATMs can already issue debit cards so you can get a new one if you lose yours. In the future, they could allow you to hold a video call with your bank and do even more tasks you would normally do in a bank branch.
The Evolution of ATMs Means They Are Here to Stay
The ATM wants to stay relevant, and with contactless payments becoming commonplace, fewer people are using ATMs. This has led to the problem of some small towns not having ATMs on certain days, meaning people cannot access their cash when they need it, which has led to the creation of the ‘Request an ATM’ service.
It’s clear that cash is still important, but it’s also clear that ATMs can be used for a lot more than just dispensing cash. So we are sure to see many changes over the coming years as ATMs continue to evolve.