In-branch banking still plays an important role in customers’ financial lives, despite the growing popularity of mobile and online banking. A recent study found that 70 percent of consumers have visited a bank branch in the past month, meaning that banks, credit unions and other financial institutions still need to put their best foot forward in terms of in-branch interactions.
ATMs play a vital role in meeting this demand for in-person banking. New technologies like interactive teller machines (ITMs) — leveraging webcam-connected screens for teller interactions — are bringing a range of new functionalities, such as opening new accounts and loan applications.
In the January Digital-First Banking Tracker, PYMNTS explores the latest in the world of digital-first banking, including game-changing ATM advancements, biometric authentication methods for bank branches and a case study detailing the digital transformation of a leading Montreal bank.
Developments From Around The Digital-First Banking World
Bank customers are visiting branch locations because they believe they still matter. A recent study from Adobe consumers found that while 89 percent of bank customers conduct transactions online, 75 percent said that physical branch locations still matter. In fact, 57 percent of respondents had never digitally signed a document with their bank. This is not to say that they eschewed digital banking entirely, however: 52 percent of respondents said that they do most of their banking online, and 59 percent said that they would not patronize a bank that did not offer digital or mobile services.
ATM distribution is a common challenge, however: Many areas have too many ATMs, while others have none at all. The U.K.’s primary cash machine overseer, Link, seeks to solve this problem by allowing individuals to apply for ATMs in certain locations. Eleven ATMs have been installed throughout the U.K. based on these applications, with priority given to locations without alternative cash withdrawal sites in a one-kilometer radius.
Security concerns continue to trouble digital-first innovations, however. Many financial institutions, including North Dakota-based Gate City Bank, have instituted increased security measures like palm scanners at their branches to authenticate customers. These palm scanners verify customer identities by analyzing the unique vein patterns in their hands, providing a more seamless and secure alternative to physical ID cards, personal identification numbers (PINs) or passwords.
For more on these and other digital-first banking developments, visit the Tracker’s News & Trends section.
BMO’s Digital Transformation Leans Heavily On Self-Service Technologies
Bank customers’ preferences have shifted toward self-service technologies over branch visits in recent years, due to their improved convenience and ease of use. Banks like BMO Harris Bank are investing heavily in real-time check scanning, PIN authentication and ATMs to meet this demand, but are finding an unexpected benefit for bank staff as well.
In this month’s feature story, Kyle Barnett, chief operating officer of personal and small business banking at BMO, spoke about how these self-service technologies have focused staff interactions on more complicated transactions, greatly improving branch efficiency.
Deep Dive: New ATM Technology Could Be A Game-Changer For Digital-First Banks
Digital-first financial institutions are attractive to potential customers for their lightning-fast interactions and lower overhead costs, and many banks are turning to advanced ATMs to close this self-service gap. ATM manufacturers are more than happy to meet this growing demand with advanced technology, but they are also being forced to reckon with the possibility of fraud.
This month’s Deep Dive explores how live video feeds, artificial intelligence, contactless payments and other technologies are fueling ATM innovation, and how manufacturers and developers are fighting fraud techniques like card skimming.
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