Empowering payments is all about empowering consumer choice.
That means enabling people to pay in-store or online via the payment method that is most convenient for them at any given moment.
While some may find it surprising, cash is still holding strong to its reign as one of those preferred payment methods. It hasn’t taken long to figure out that cash isn’t dying; in fact, it’s thriving in many economies and remains a go-to payment, depending on the market or purchase being made.
According to the PYMNTS.com Global Cash Index™, a Cardtronics collaboration, Americans spent a total of $2,359 billion in cash in 2015, and cash usage in the U.S. remains higher than in Western European countries.
In 2015, cash usage in the U.S. represented 13.1 percent of its GDP, and PYMNTS research estimates that cash share will represent 11.7 percent of the U.S. GDP in 2020.
Now what matters most is providing consumers with choice in how they access cash.
Through a new partnership, FIS Mobile and Cardtronics are addressing one of the most vulnerable touch points when it comes to accessing cash — non-bank ATMs.
Doug Brown, SVP and group executive for FIS Mobile, announced exclusively to PYMNTS that it will expand its cardless cash ecosystem to now include Cardtronics non-bank ATMs.
“We are expanding the value propositions from our product — the speed, convenience and security that avoid skimming risks for users at the largest operator of non-bank ATMs in the U.S.,” Brown explained.
Many non-bank ATMs are located in places that may not be well monitored, making them an easy target for bad guys to perpetrate skimming scams and drive up ATM fraud. But the new partnership will enable the ATMs to still provide a great experience while improving security from both the user side and the operator side.
Cash’s New Digital Utility
The best part is that this is being done in a form factor that people really enjoy using — their mobile devices.
“Digital has become the primary means by which consumers interact with their banks. This revolution will carry over to a change in how customers transact over the next several years (checks to cards, cards to mobile). One thing that’s clear, however, is the continuing need for cash in the payments ecosystem,” Brad Nolan, EVP of global product and marketing at Cardtronics, explained.
For this reason, Cardtronics is investing in connecting the mobile banking platform with physical access to cash — making it simple and convenient for consumers to convert digital to cash — and, soon to come, cash to digital, Nolan added.
After almost four years of researching cash usage around the globe, PYMNTS noted that what people continue to underestimate is the crucial role cash still plays in the spending behaviors of so many consumers. Though the usage of cash may not be as popular as digital payment methods in some parts of the world, as overall spending increases, so does the size of the pie when it comes to cash usage.
Even if people are using less cash, it’s still being used, and the growth of usage in every economy in the world, specifically the U.S., is increasing.
This is why giving consumers easy and safe access to cash is important.
“There’s always going to be merchants out there who will need, prefer and even steer toward cash for a variety of reasons in our estimations, so we do think it’s relevant and useful for consumers to have it,” Brown said.
Keeping Cash Relevant
Just because cash has been around for thousands of years, doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from digital advancements.
Innovators are giving cash a new utility in order to make it easier for people to access cash and even use it for things they may want to buy online.
Brown confirmed that the cardless cash ecosystem of FIS Mobile won’t just stop with cash withdrawals.
It’s a two-way street, he explained, noting that the model expands to allow for cash access out as well as cash access in, which will essentially solve a two-way issue with cash.
Integrations are now kicking off for the cardless cash product that will be available at Cardtronics’ ATMs. Nolan said that the expectation is for a 24-month, phased rollout across the Cardtronics ATM footprint.
“This is an investment in innovation for Cardtronics that we anticipate will pay long-term benefits of increased traffic at our retail ATM locations and increased transactions at the ATMs,” Nolan added.