Mobile tech enhancing, not replacing ATMs

June 14, 2012 | by Suzanne Cluckey

Getting an ATM cash withdrawal to clock in at less than 30 seconds is impressive. Getting the same transaction down to 10 seconds or less? That's impossible, right?

Still it seems the impossible could be on the verge of becoming the everyday. NCR has developed software that lets bank customers set up a cash withdrawal using their mobile device — then complete the transaction at the ATM by scanning a 2-D QR code with the phone. No card, no PIN — and voilà — cash in under 10 seconds. And no receipt either. An e-receipt for the transaction is sent automatically to the customer's email address.

"We live in a mobile world where the modern consumer expects to handle transactions using a variety of mediums," said Michael O'Laughlin, senior vice president of NCR Financial Services. "NCR has been a pioneer in a variety of multichannel environments, from using your phone as an airline boarding pass to depositing checks using your phone. NCR Mobile Cash Withdrawal will help financial institutions meet their customers' expectations in the mobile channel, and help them deliver a differentiated and faster converged-channel experience."

To use the mobile service, the user authenticates as usual using a mobile app installed on the user's phone with an embedded NCR Mobile Cash Withdrawal function. Then, the user follows the prompts on the phone to initiate the transaction. All set. At the ATM, the user scans the QR code on the terminal screen with the phone, the money is dispensed and the transaction is confirmed.

An accountholder can use any model of iOS or Android smart phone at any of their bank's mobile withdrawal-capable ATMs at any time. And they can stage their transaction whenever — at work, on the train, while waiting in line at the ATM.

Smartphone + ATM = security

According to NCR, Mobile Cash Withdrawal is a secure alternative to card-based ATM transactions. The consumer's data is not stored on the mobile device or the within the 2-D barcode. Scanning the code merely identifies the location of the ATM and enables fulfilment of the transaction. There's no mag stripe to skim, no PIN number to record.

The solution requires no additional ATM hardware. It deploys with a simple software upgrade, said NCR in a news release, making it an affordable and quick-to-implement multichannel solution for financial institutions.

In the following demo video, Mark Critchett marketing director for payments and converged channel solutions at NCR, demonstrates the Mobile Cash Withdrawal process from start to finish.

Mobile Cash Withdrawal — just a beginning?

Mobile payments consultant Richard Crone has been anticipating the arrival of mobile payment access, and has even worked with clients on its implementation. He enthused about the technology during his ATMIA USA presentation at this year's conference in San Antonio.

"Everyone's been asking where the current stakeholders of ATMs play in mobile payments," Crone said in an interview before the conference. "So the way we're going to [answer] that is by first introducing one of many innovative ways for ATM stakeholders to play in mobile payment. And that first example will be mobile cash access."

Crone's presentation assumed an NFC-based transaction, which would require hardware that the NCR solution does not. Still, the consultant's message was the same: "This is how banks begin to differentiate themselves in a mobile age."

If consumers take to the idea of prestaging their transactions and if NFC eventually arrives at the ATM, perhaps NFC-enabled MCA will be the next wave of mobile-driven differentiation. Or perhaps it will be something even more innovative that isn't even a thing yet.

In the meantime, NCR is seeking strategic partnerships with financial institutions to pilot its non-NFC solution. The the industry can expect it to hit the market before the end of the year.

For more on this topic, visit the ATMs research center.

Topics: ATMs , Mobile Apps , Mobile Banking , Software , Trends / Statistics

Suzanne Cluckey / Suzanne’s editorial career has spanned three decades and encompassed all B2B and B2C communications formats. Her award-winning work has appeared in trade and consumer media in the United States and internationally.
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