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COVID-19 prompts interest and innovation in cardless ATM withdrawals

COVID-19 prompts interest and innovation in cardless ATM withdrawals 1

The number of ATMs offering cardless cash withdrawals is increasing as deployers around the world continue to embrace contactless technologies and adopt new solutions

USA sees the largest increase in availability of cardless cash withdrawals

RBR’s new report, Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2025, reveals that the number of ATMs providing cardless withdrawals rose by 26% in 2019.

This growth is largely driven by the USA, where the number of such ATMs more than tripled. Several US banks have recently introduced this service, targeted primarily at mobile phone owners as mobile payments gain in popularity. Even excluding the USA, the number of ATMs which offer cardless cash withdrawals increased by 10%. Adoption is driven by both customer convenience and security, as cardless withdrawals reduce the time spent at an ATM and remove the risk of card skimming.

The research shows that there are a variety of methods which allow cardholders to make cash withdrawals at the ATM without inserting a payment card. Some ATMs are equipped with NFC and QR code readers. Others allow withdrawals via a one-time PIN or display an on-screen QR code which customers scan using their mobile phones, and some make use of biometric identification.

Adoption of contactless technology increases

RBR’s study reveals that the number of ATMs equipped with NFC readers increased by 83% in 2019. It was not just in the USA that the drive to cater for users of mobile payments saw a sharp rise, and Poland and Ukraine also saw strong growth. In Canada, ATMs with NFC readers have been introduced for the first time by two major banks – these have yet to offer cardless cash withdrawals, but the rollout points to increasing use of contactless technology at ATMs.

The number of ATMs equipped with QR code readers also rose, largely driven by China, where ICBC has introduced this capability. QR code readers remain less common than NFC readers in most markets, with Thailand and Taiwan as two notable exceptions. 43% of ATMs in Thailand are equipped with QR code readers, whilst only 4% boast NFC readers. The Bank of Thailand encourages the deployment of QR code readers as part of the government’s roadmap towards cashless payments.

COVID-19 heightens interest in cardless

Methods to minimise contact with ATMs have gained heightened relevance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Spain, Caixabank has increased its rollout of biometric ATMs which allow withdrawals to be made via facial recognition.

COVID-19 has the potential to spur innovation in cardless withdrawal technology and accelerate its adoption at ATMs. In India, AGS Transact, which manages around 72,000 ATMs on behalf of banks, has recently developed and tested a ‘touchless’ ATM solution. This solution uses on-screen QR codes to allow the customer to withdraw cash without touching the machine.

Rowan Berridge, who led RBR’s Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2025 research, remarked: “As concerns about COVID-19 continue to run high, cardless cash withdrawals are garnering increasing interest. ATM operators are finding ways to deliver cash and other vital services whilst mitigating risk. Even after the current pandemic, I expect to see the industry continue to innovate in this area”.

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