Millennials are not like the rest of us.
In the first place, they live wired; the generation born between roughly 1982 and 2004 hardly remembers a world not dominated by laptops and mobile digital devices.
In the second place, they are motivated by immediacy, not tradition. Why endure the hassle of opening a checking account when you can run to Walgreen's and get a reloadable pre-paid? (Logic that's as rock-solid for a Millennial making $74,999 a year as for one making $25,000.)
Figuring out how to attract 20-somethings has been an unusually tough nut for the financial services industry to crack. But a new Diebold Inc. concept being unveiled this week at CES could be part of the solution.
Cardless, intuitive and in the cloud
According to Jim Block, director of advanced technology development at Diebold, it started with the question of how to expand service capabilities the company is deploying today and make them more applicable to a wider swath of an FI's customer base. "And that's when Millennials came into the conversation."
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The new concept features an interface that can be accessed without an ATM card, and controlled by touch and gestures — just like the smartphone you'll seen in any Millennials' hand at any given moment.
"What's unique about it is two things," said Block. "First of all the interface part of it is different from most ATMs today. But then it's also driven differently, as our services can coordinate different activities on different endpoints." The endpoint might be a smartphone or an ATM or any other device the consumer is using at the moment.
Beyond this is the fact that the concept operates in the cloud. "ATMs as they exist today are an IT element," said Block. "And within any IT infrastructure the maintenance you have keeping applications up to date [... is] of course translated to cost." With the cloud-based application, quite a bit of that cost can be avoided, he said.
Not for Millennials only
Though inspired by Millennials, the new concept isn't about them, only. After all, Boomers are the biggest buyers of tablets, which are also touch- and gesture-controlled. Still, updating to an interface that Millennials know well might begin to kindle interest of this banking-indifferent group, said Block.
"Certainly if the bank can provide them services in a way that invites them rather than continues with the stodgy reputation [banks] may have with the Millennials, it could help draw them."
Diebold has released a pair of videos (one full-length, one condensed) that demonstrate the new Millennial-inspired concepts. Both are available for viewing below.
Full-length version (7 mins):
Short version (1 min):
For more on this topic, visit the manufacturers research center.