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Q&A: The EPC push for standardized ATM cash cassettes, part 1

The following Q&A is part one of a two-part series regarding the European Payments Council plan for same-size standardization of ATM cash cassettes across Europe. 

In what continues to be a hot debate, the European Payments Council's goal with the cash cassette standardization plan is to make storage in transit and at facilities more efficient, thus reducing the number of trips to and from the ATM.

EPC Chairman Gerard Hartsink talked with ATMmarketplace about the benefits of standardization, and why there is no need for manufacturers and cash-in-transit companies to complain.

The following responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

What are the benefits of transitioning to standard-sized cassettes?

The single and multi denomination currency cassettes come in a wide variety of dimensions and sizes. This lack of cassettes standardization is one of the factors contributing to the substantial cost of wholesale cash distribution in SEPA.

Today it is necessary to have a large stock everywhere (cash centers, CITs, trucks) in order to satisfy all the needs among the entire process. The provision of an open ATM cash cassette standard will decrease maintenance costs. Making standard size receptacles available will also allow empty cassettes to be replenished with deposits retrieved from a different ATM in the same locality. This standardization initiative therefore responds to, and takes advantage of, the trend to deposit cash at ATMs.


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Cash cassettes and ATMs are increasingly protected by Intelligent Banknote Neutralization Systems. Today, IBNSs need to be customized for different cash cassette models and ATM types. Interoperability among IBNSs will also increase the choices of providers active in the cash cycle.

These providers will no longer be forced to rely on specific IBNSs compatible only with a limited number of cash cassette models, ATM types and /or ATM cassette delivery cases.

Last but not least is the environmental benefit: a "one size fits all" approach allows CITs to efficiently store cash cassettes in their trucks, thereby reducing the number of cash transport journeys required.

What is the proposed timeline for compliance if the motion is passed?

The timeline should be adopted according to the normal life cycle of the equipment. The idea is not to have a replacement process by big bang, but when the time comes to replace a machine, that machine should be replaced by a new one, compliant with defined standardization. It means that we need to expect a large timeline directly related with the current ATMs life cycle. Ten years, more or less.

How do you think this will affect cash-in-transit companies?

In a positive way at different levels. Starting with stocks, the cost of stocking will decrease because it won’t be necessary to keep all different kind of cassettes with a wide variety of dimensions and sizes.

Then, the transportation can be optimized because there will be no need to transport all the variety of models and, as mentioned earlier, it will be possible to replace empty cassettes with deposit cassettes retrieved from a different ATM in the same locality. It will give more possibilities and will lead to a more efficient management process.

Would standardization have any effect on security at the ATM? Enhanced or otherwise?

ATM security is much more than cassettes. There is no reason to affect security with standardization. It would depend of security developments.

However, even in this field, there can be a cost reduction once the needs of different styles for the same system disappear. It can be enhanced because the funds and efforts dedicated to the variety of models can be concentrated and oriented to new developments.

What would you say to manufacturers complaining about the need to redesign current models to comply with the cassettes about the associated costs?

There’s no reason for complaints. As mentioned previously, no one is expecting a big bang replacement. It should be a gradual process directly related with equipment life cycles and normal developments. Indeed, it is nothing more than to adapt the cassettes environment to life, which is full of standards.

ATMs are being subject to a lot of changes for different reasons; new functionalities and services, adaptation to different realities, developments of new standards for accessibility and much more. Standards for cassettes is just one more.  

For more information on this topic, please visit our regulatory issues research center.

 

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