Here's what FIs stand to gain by studying grocery stores
by Karen Kaukol, VP of Instant Issuance, Entrust Datacard
Self-checkout lanes have become a mainstay in many grocery stores, enabling customers to bypass the traditional checkout process and act as their own cashier.
These self-checkout systems help facilitate productivity — and speed up what can oftentimes be a friction-filled process. As consumers opt for more convenient, customized shopping experiences, self-checkouts will continue to gain traction with retailers.
However, grocery and mass merchants aren't the only ones who stand to benefit from embracing self-service experiences.
Financial institutions are looking to their own ATMs as a place to adopt the express checkout trend. By allowing customers to act as their own tellers, FIs are enhancing the experience of everyday transactions for their customers.
These self-service capabilities allow customers not only to manage personal funds, but also to do so without ever entering a bank.
Payment cards in an instant
The self-service economy is on the rise, making the ability to offer do-it-yourself experiences more important than ever before.
Customers today expect their issues and problems to be addressed instantly, especially when it comes to difficulties that affect their financial lives. The loss or theft of a payment card is an unfortunate, but primary example.
While instant issuance within a branch is helpful, deploying replacement payment cards through self-service kiosks can set a financial institution on the path toward exceeding customers' anytime-anywhere expectations. After hours issuance also equips FIs to deliver unmatched convenience, while maintaining the ATM's role as a strong link between the FI and its customers.
Tellers go virtual
When an FI's customers need help but the branch doors are closed, they are typically left to reach out for help via online customer service portals or a phone call. However, ATMs could serve as a new lifeline for access to remote tellers – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A multi-function ATM can provide a banking customer with personalized, one-to-one customer service in an instant. This type of functionality can ensure customers are able to transact and receive help when needed, even outside of normal business hours. Putting virtual tellers in place via ATMs can also help improve operational efficiency, increase cross-selling opportunities and reduce wait times within branch locations.
For example, several FIs are bringing a more human touch to their ATMs with video technology that lets customers speak with a teller using real-time video. This service aims to deliver the same quality of personal assistance available in a branch directly to an ATM, but with additional convenience, flexibility and control for the customer.
Cash withdrawal without a card
No payment card? No problem. Many financial institutions are enabling card-free account access at ATMs, which means customers can be authenticated and access their financial accounts even without their plastic bank card in hand.
Through this new ATM technology, customers can use an eight-digit token and PIN associated with their debit or ATM card to gain access to their account, as opposed to having to use a physical card.
This cardless approach requires customers to first log in through a mobile app to request a one-time-use access code, but eliminates the necessity to carry around a physical card in order to use an ATM. Other benefits of cardless ATM transactions include an enhanced customer experience and improved security by helping customers avoid the threat of card trapping or skimming.
Depositing checks and cash at the ATM may not be new, but a growing number of banks are employing ATMs to replace the deposit-taking role traditionally held by tellers.
According to last year's ATM Benchmarking Study and Industry Report from Accenture, this shift is happening at an increasing rate within markets where branch locations are declining.
Automated deposits not only deliver increased convenience to consumers, but also have the potential to help FIs improve their overall efficiency and reduce service costs. In fact, one banking study revealed that it costs an FI 65 cents for a teller to handle a deposit, while it only costs 8 cents to perform a deposit through an ATM.
New technologies are enabling ATMs to go far beyond just dispensing cash. The expanding capabilities of ATMs can open the door for financial institutions to improve and transform the consumer banking experience in significant ways, specifically when it comes to self-service.
Karen Kaukol is vice president of instant issuance at Entrust Datacard (www.entrustdatacard.com). She has broad product marketing experience in global payments, financial services and information technology.