Understanding the Future of ATMs And their impact

As technology continues to evolve, so has the ATM industry. Trends like Libra, Bitcoin, and Venmo have all sparked concerns from ATM operators, but these new ventures and payment options are not all bad for the ATM and cash industries. Read on as we discuss the innovations and future of ATMs.

Recently, ATM Marketplace released an ATM Future Trends Report. The biennial report included a survey of more than 300 consumers in the U.S. and 200 stakeholders representing every aspect of the ATM industry. This report shares several key findings in consumer behavior, the state of cash, and much more.

With OptConnect's deep involvement in the ATM industry, we feel that it's essential to pay attention to the current health of the industry and its future, and we want to share with you some of the key findings from the ATM Future Trends Report that Amy Castor highlighted along with our perspective on each.

Consumer preference for cash as a payment method has declined 4% since 2017, as has a preference for credit cards.

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding alternative payment options including cryptocurrency, with even Facebook wanting in on that game, to competitive payment apps like PayPal's Venmo, and Apple and Samsung's payment options which also make it more convenient to pay friends, family, and contacts via cashless mediums.

Cryptocurrency has major unresolved questions surrounding regulation concerns as well as lower adoption rates for consumers (so cash can see wins when newer cryptocurrency trends hit snags).

Debit cards experienced a 3% increase in popularity as a payment method, and 5% of respondents preferred a mobile wallet in 2019.

Retailers are pushing back hard against credit card fees like Kroger forcing consumers to no longer use Visa credit at their 2,750 stores nationwide, so expect debit card usage to maintain higher usage as other retailers follow.

The percentage of respondents who thought the U.S. had "enough" ATMs plunged from 57% in 2017 to 39% in 2019. The percentage who said the U.S. has too few free-to-use ATMs also saw a significant jump — from 17% in 2017 to 39% in 2019.

Many ATM users may say this as they’re often victims of circumstance when an experience, food, or service they want ends up being “cash only” and the most convenient ATM’s include a surcharge so they’d want more ATM’s assuming fees would go down if there are more available.

A larger percentage of respondents said they'd rather have a branch nearby than an ATM (43% in 2019 versus 38% in 2017). Those who said "Neither, I do my banking with a mobile app," increased by 3% to a total of 9% in 2019.

Many ATM operators have massive opportunities here as now is the time to partner with banks in their regions and cities. Consumers trust their banks enough to welcome a branch, but banks often can't justify the extra costs, so if operators can convince banks to partner with them or outsource more ATM's to them with their branding or toppers then ATM operators may see more growth through those avenues as banks may send them more and more of that business.

Overall, what we see from these ATM statistics is that alternative payment methods may be on the rise, but ATMs are still a viable option for many people. At OptConnect, we don't just connect ATMs; we care about the well being of the industry.

For more information on OptConnect’s ATM solutions, click here.

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