Banking as an on-demand experience

An emerging ecosystem of digital and physical channels is an opportunity for banks to reach customers not just around the corner, but across the country. A network of ATMs at no additional cost can allow any bank to put its brand in front of account holders where they live, work and play.

According to a recent national survey, three-quarters of consumers say they would do anything to avoid paying additional fees for ATMs, and more than half say they actively seek out ATMs in a network Without supplements. Fintechs and neobanks have realized this and are rapidly adopting surcharge-free ATM networks as their physical banking “branch” of choice.

No-cost ATM networks provide consumers with tens of thousands of banking access points in high-traffic locations across the country, 24/7. ATMs, which customize third-party operated kiosks with partner banks’ brand assets, enable cash delivery at no additional cost in strategic new entrant and competitive markets. Integrating an ATM network at no additional cost into your retail banking footprint can add real value to account holders.

Consider the members of a modern household juggling work and family. Between Zoom calls, walking the dog, picking up the kids from school and driving them to football, people have little time for lunch, let alone get to the bank branch where they can cope with schedules reduced and long queues.

Instead, imagine that branch transforming into a full, surcharge-free financial kiosk available virtually any time of day or night, including during the 11 p.m. run to the store for a pint of chocolate ice cream. Performing banking tasks when and where the customer chooses becomes a value-added service differentiator that builds brand loyalty.

Omnichannel drives engagement

Obtaining money and making deposits are the essential services of ATMs, but more and more these devices are becoming real ATMs that integrate service extensions such as the possibility of checking balances, obtaining copies statements, make account transfers and pay bills. Next-gen capabilities like cardless access and crypto transactions are on the horizon. These capabilities make the ATM channel a fully realized component of digital banking.

As consumer usage of self-service channels increases, brand engagement becomes even more critical. In its 2013 retail banking study, JD Power found that banks that improve levels of customer engagement among self-service customers see an overall increase in net income. According to this report, converting even small percentages of low- and medium-engagement customers to high-engagement customers can pay off in the form of higher interest income from larger deposits, investments, and loans.

To effectively leverage this new dynamic, retail banks need to consider what is most important when selecting a surcharge-free network to improve customer experience and service. Some of the things banks should prioritize include access to locations relevant to customers; an installed base of modern and secure ATMs; the ability to customize devices with the same look and feel as those located onsite; and the market expertise needed to deliver services that deliver on the promises made to consumers.

Bank customers expect to have access to a range of self-service channels. Banks that fail to meet these rising expectations do so at their peril. Customers today can create their own main street, where service providers are open 24/7 and free from geographic constraints. These customers expect services to be integrated across all channels and are critical of piecemeal solutions.

At the same time, banks need greater efficiency and better brand awareness. The branch of the future is an omnichannel ecosystem in which customers access banking services at their own pace and in the way that suits them best.

We live in an exciting time of banking innovation, a time in which banks are becoming truly customer-centric, striving to eliminate service friction and focusing on building lasting and valuable relationships. Adding a robust, global, no-cost ATM network to this ecosystem checks many of these innovation boxes and delivers real value to customers and banks alike.

Steve Nogalo is Executive Vice President for North American Financial Institutions at NCR.

Find out how branch banking is evolving for the future in this executive report from BAI, “Branch banking continues its radical evolution.”

Michael J. Birnbaum