Innovation

The Future Of Banking Comes To Sunday’s Big Game

Whether their money is on the Pats or the Eagles, one thing is for sure: Football fans will be spending a lot of it this Sunday (Feb. 4), especially if they’re attending the NFL playoffs in person. ATMs in and around U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will see a spike in activity with the influx of consumers for the big game.

That’s to be expected for financial services company Diebold Nixdorf, which partners with U.S. Bank. Far more interesting will be the activities within the Possibilities Lounge, where the company and other partners will be showcasing the future of banking and payments in the days leading up to Game Day. In the Lounge, guests will have the opportunity to try out a contactless payments experience featuring Diebold Nixdorf’s latest concepts — and some other innovations, too.

“We are particularly excited about the U.S. Bank Possibilities Lounge, in partnership with Visa and Diebold Nixdorf, as it will be a fun and interactive way for fans to engage in the future of payments,” said Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for U.S. Bank.

There will be myriad events in the Possibilities Lounge beginning Wednesday (Jan. 31). With an estimated 1 million guests predicted to flood the area the week of the game, that’s a lot of opportunities to give folks a hands-on taste of what the world of payments will soon have to offer.

“From a consumer standpoint, they may not understand what the future of banking actually looks like,” said Bill Acheson, vice president and general manager at Diebold Nixdorf. “We talk about it every day as business professionals, and that’s our prerogative, but this is a very tangible, real example on something that is known to them — a wearable — which is something that they already understand in their day-to-day lives. Translating that to banking is the connection that we aim to make.”

In a recent interview with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster, Acheson outlined the experience visitors can expect at Diebold Nixdorf’s station in the Possibilities Lounge. Guests do not have to have tickets to the championship game to visit the Lounge, nor do they have to be U.S. Bank cardholders — but rumor has it they’ll get a little something extra if they are.

The UX Experience

At the event, consumers will witness the “user experience” they don’t realize they could be having. Call it the “user experience experience.”

After signup, visitors will receive a radio-frequency identification (RFID) sticker representing a wearable, such as a smartwatch. The wearable starts with no value. Guests interact with different experiences in the exhibit to add value to it.

They can tap the sticker against Diebold Nixdorf’s Essence ATM, with its sleek, modern aesthetic, and enjoy a personalized greeting by name — plus a few points for checking their balances. Showing off their dance moves with an emoji earns another credit.

Guests will have accrued approximately $15 in stored value on the RFID sticker by the end of the tour if they interacted with each experience. They can then redeem those funds for a gourmet hot chocolate and/or promotional items from a vending machine that interacts with the wearable. U.S. Bank members also get a chance to win an exclusive gift if their wearable is the lucky winner. The winning wearable is capable of opening a locker at the tour’s conclusion.

Acheson said the exhibition is important because user experience is such a growing area of focus for banks and retailers. Huge shares of budgets in both sectors are going toward improving the user experience through consumer-facing innovation. This will be an opportunity to see how users respond to the experience, he said, and in an environment that is controlled, yet still random.

Reinforcing the Corporate Strategy

According to Acheson, Diebold Nixdorf aims to bring connected commerce to life for consumers, and this display — the largest and most public display the company has undertaken to date — will give people a chance to see it all in action, making it easier to visualize new and unfamiliar concepts.

There are three areas of focus driving the corporate strategy, he explained.

First, no matter how customers arrive, and no matter how their transactions are authenticated — security phrase, biometrics, et cetera — the physical-to-digital transition must be seamless.

Second, Diebold Nixdorf aims to provide a personalized and secure connection with great integration, Acheson said. Security of the transaction, throughout all layers of the underlying infrastructure, is a focus unto itself.

Third, the company is driven by an always-on operation excellence mentality. Customers want what they want when they want it, and Acheson said companies must provide that without compromising the availability of their products and services.

The Championship Spike

Despite heavy industry focus on digital innovations, cash is still a critical component of the ecosystem. In fact, its usage is growing around the world as population and spending rise. The viability of ATMs and the ability for consumers to access and use them is therefore important both at home and abroad.

At events like the NFL championship game, cash comes into play a bit more heavily than it might during the course of a consumer’s normal day, which Acheson said will drive increased traffic at ATMs at U.S. Bank Stadium, around Minneapolis and in the nearby cities where football fans are congregating this week.

Diebold Nixdorf’s role is to support the cash aspect of the event. Increased usage is a given, according to Acheson, so the firm has all hands on deck in terms of technicians. It has also deployed a remote resolve utility that enables them to address some problems from afar, rather than having to send a live technician and a truck to the site.

Through a cooperation with U.S. Bank, Acheson said they’ll be getting hourly updates showing high-profile ATMs at U.S. Bank Stadium and the greater Minneapolis area, helping the firm stay on top of maintenance and cash support.

“Cash is still an integral part of the environment,” Acheson acknowledged. “The key is how to move it more easily from physical to digital and back.”

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