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2013 ATM Comparison Guide: Where the buying decision begins

ATM Marketplace is pleased to announce publication of the ATM Comparison Guide 2013, a compendium of models and detailed specs from major ATM manufacturers Banqit, Diebold, GRGBanking, GenMega, Hantle, Itautec, Nautilus Hyosung, NCR, Triton and Wincor Nixdorf.

The following is an excerpt from the 2013 guide:

ATM fleet upgrades used to involve fairly simple decisions: Should the new machines be dispensing only, or would they need to take envelope deposits, too? Should they be through the wall or freestanding? Would they integrate seamlessly with current back office systems or should those be upgraded, as well?

Of course, there were other considerations, but they were all pretty clear cut by current standards. Today, a financial institution or independent ATM deployer in the process of upgrading a fleet must work out a host of quandaries and complications, starting with the one thing no business can do without:

Regulatory compliance

New regulations governing ATM compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act took effect on March 15, 2012, but according to some industry watchers, tens of thousands of machines (particularly those in retail locations) have yet to be brought up to the current standards. And many of those machines are simply too outdated to make an upgrade feasible.

This leaves the operator the decision of whether to go with a newer used machine as a replacement or to purchase a new machine that will accommodate other pending changes. That choice brings up a major pending issue:

EMV

When MasterCard and Visa laid out their initial roadmaps for EMV migration in the U.S., the question of whether an ATM deployer should act now or let the issue ride seemed like a no-brainer. Only MasterCard even addressed the issue of EMV at the ATM, and this was only in respect to the association's overseas debit network, Maestro, for which liability would shift to the transaction processor in 2013.

For the vast majority of operators, Maestro represented such an infinitesimal percentage of transactions that they could simply choose to decline Maestro transactions with nary a blip in the bottom line.

But then, MasterCard changed the stakes, announcing an ATM-specific liability shift deadline for all transactions, effective in 2016. Just like that, the question of how and when to enable machines for EMV took on a whole new complexion. And it introduced another complicating factor:

Future-proofing

Putting aside for the moment the question
of whether any technology can be rendered immune to obsolescence, operators must determine (or perhaps the correct term would be "guess") whether contactless and mobile wallet transactions are fleeting diversions or emerging trends.

When upgrading to ADA-compliant, EMV-enabled terminals, should an operator select a new machine that will eventually accommodate contactless and mobile transactions? Will the necessity to swipe or dip an ATM card ever become such a burden to customers that they'll go elsewhere?

Or, viewed another way, will enabling a machine for contactless and mobile transactions be such a draw as to make it worth the investment? And here the operator enters especially tricky territory:

Consumer experience

The fundamental function of an ATM was, is, and mostly likely ever will be the delivery of that universal value transfer tool — cash. Everything else — envelope-free deposit, bill pay, money transfer, touchscreen operation, mobile prestaging, contactless, e-receipts, video teller, multi-denomination dispensing, currency exchange, mobile top-up, postage stamp sales, coupon delivery, whatever — is just icing on the cake.

Or is it? The function of an ATM may well be to deliver banknotes in the most commonly used denominations, but the purpose of the ATM is to deliver user convenience. This is what makes the bells and whistles matter. And it is what makes the careful evaluation and selection of ATM features and benefits so important.

The ATM Comparison Guide 2013 puts essential factors of machine choice at your fingertips. This information can help you build a valued brand that delivers the convenience, ease and security your customers expect — along with the efficiency, reliability and returns that your business requires.

The ATM Comparison Guide 2013 is now available for purchase and download.

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