News & Views - Savantor

‘Drive-thru’ banking

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The longevity of cash and how long it will be before it dies out is a topic frequently discussed these days, with varying views expressed about the potential timescales involved.

One of the implications of this development, if it comes to pass, is the impact upon the requirement for ATM’s and the companies such as NCR for whom the ATM is fundamental to their business.

It is not particularly surprising, therefore, that ATM suppliers might be considering ways of expanding their use beyond that of the services they currently provide.

During the past month there have been media reports about ‘drive-thru’ banking arriving in the UK next year with bank branches being replaced by ‘bank in a box’ machines. NCR is reported to be holding discussions with banking institutions about providing such functionality. Apparently, customers could open an account, request an overdraft or apply for a mortgage from their car at ‘bank in a box’ stations where screens can be used much like a tablet, with swiping, pinching and zoom functionality. There would also be an additional video option to enable them to talk to staff remotely.

The intention is that use of these machines would be particularly attractive to banks in the current environment where the closure of local bank branches is a on ongoing process.

Whilst innovation, automation and the customer response to new technology is the process of evolution, it is not desirable that the more vulnerable sections of our society, such as the elderly, are disadvantaged by its introduction. Although it is fine to claim that these banking stations are ‘elderly friendly’ because touch screens enable users to adjust the size of the text, the wider picture of consumer requirements must not be ignored. If, for example, some elderly customers struggle with use of computers and online banking, providing touch screens is not necessarily of much use – particularly if the individuals concerned are of an age where it be difficult to access one of these machines anyway as they no longer drive. Innovation and new technologies are obviously to be encouraged – but less technical alternatives must be retained for less technically or physically capable sections of the community.

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