I first saw the ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) in 1968 in Australia. However I did not learn how to withdraw cash from the machine until recently in 2004. Unlike other new electronic gadgets like computer or mobile phones, ATM has not gone through any major change over the long 40 years time span from the early cash dispenser. ATM is still ATM performing the very basic function for the card holder to withdraw cash from it. Changes, if there is any, may be the ubiquitous of the device and a few added functions like paper printouts.
Not anymore and we will see a revolution soon. Now a day, we can go to ATM and transfer fund to others. We can also transfer fund to person in other bank. I myself used to walk in New York, Oslo, and Sydney and all over other places around the world and drew cash with a touch of the figure. You can also pay your bills or buy tickets on ATM. Very soon we will see ATM every where that are capable of taking cash and cheques in batches of up to 50 without an envelope. It will automatically, as the name suggests, issue out receipts with a copied image of the deposited cheque. This will certainly reduce manual cheque clearing process. You can also replenish your prepaid mobile phone time with the machine. Newer ATM will allow users to program certain preferences, such as normal withdrawal amount. ATM will remember their financial habits whenever they revisit. This will speed up usage time and reduce queuing annoyances. Still others incorporate biometrics by using eye or figure print scans to recognize customers. This will increase security and the need of cards and personal identity numbers. Other functions expected to be added in time include cheque book reordering, credit card applications filled out on-line at the ATM, and other special service requests. Soon, we will be able to view stock quotes, purchase gift certificates or interact in new ways we have not even thought of. We will also be able to make a donation with updated tax record. And as banks are increasingly moving to TCP/IP networks, we will soon see ATM with video and voice over functions. Today over 80% of North American customer retail banking transactions are conducted over ATMs or internet services1. Nine out of Ten withdrawals are from a bank machine as well.
My one concern is how long will I have to wait in the queue to perform a simple task of drawing cash from ATM despite all the improvements to speed up services of the machines? My other concern is how can I ask my wife to withdraw cash from my ATM account for the weekend if ATM is so innovated to the point they will recognize users only by eye contact or finger touch?
1Bangkok Post June 2007