Banks start to roll out ATMs with human teller video chat option

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Detailed by NBC News recently, banks around the country are upgrading existing ATMs with new versions that provide human interaction with a teller through video chat. Played over the ATM screen, bank customers can speak to a teller if they need to carry out advanced transactions like cashing a check or making a withdrawal in specific denominations. In addition, customers can withdraw money from their account if they left home without their ATM card or simply lost it. Basically, the customer places their driver’s license on a scanner attached to the ATM. After verification of the customer’s identity though video chat, they can use the ATM as if they had their bank card.

In addition, the transaction speed is increased when compared to walking into the bank to speak with a teller. The machine can dispense the cash automatically and enter all check information without any interaction from the teller. Deposits can also be verified immediately and the customer can receive a credit to their account the same day rather than leaving it at the ATM and waiting for the bank to catch up the following day. 

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Assuming a bank shifts entirely to these interactive ATMs over human tellers, it would significantly increase security. Any potential theft of money, either during a robbery or by bank employees, is simply eliminated unless someone physically attempts to open the machine. 

Coastal Federal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C. has shifted completely to these interactive teller machines and no longer have tellers available at credit union locations. When asked about the transition, Coastal Federal chief retail officer Willard Ross said “They’re more convenient, faster and safer. Robberies basically go away with this — and they allow us to provide better service. Customer response has been fantastic.” The transition also allowed the bank to make tellers available twelve hours a day, seven days a week. Hypothetically, large bank chains could make tellers available 24 hours a day since the tellers don’t have to be physically located at the bank.

Bank of America started rolling out interactive ATMs in test markets during April 2013. Launched in Atlanta and Boston first, the interactive machines offer the option for English or Spanish speaking tellers. More languages could easily be added in the future by simply hiring fluent tellers in addition to adding the correct languages within the on-screen menus. 

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Bank of America senior vice president Shelley Waite told NBC News “The feedback has been tremendous. Some customers are surprised there’s somebody right there who asked them about the weather and helped them with the transaction.” It important to note that these interactive machines don’t force customers into an interaction with a teller right at the start. The customer can use all the self-serve menus as normal, but they have the option to call the teller if needed. 

Banks are also experimenting with integrating mobile applications and smarpthones into the ATM experience. For instance, Diebold ATMs can interact with an app called Mobile Cash Access. Customers can pre-load transactions on the app prior to traveling to the bank. When they get to the bank, they scan a QR code on the ATM screen using their smartphone and the app communicates all pre-loaded transactions. This allows someone to use the ATM without pulling out their ATM card and it speeds up the transaction process. Regarding security, the app requires a pin to start up and all account information is stored in the cloud. Customers also receive an immediate text message or email when the app is used to access an ATM.

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