Visitors to the NAC2016 Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla., hosted by the National ATM Council Inc. in October, will learn the latest advances in the ATM industry, from machines that work with mobile devices, to those which enable customers to make cardless cash withdrawals, purchase lotto tickets, exchange foreign currency and participate in coupon programs.
These ATM varieties aren’t futuristic products, but available right now, said Bruce Renard, executive director of the National ATM Council. Such machines are designed to meet the changing needs of the American consumer.
In terms of in-store service, modern ATMs can also help c-stores differentiate themselves from the competition since a growing number of c-store patrons rely on ATMs to get cash. In that sense, the ATM industry and convenience store channel are made for each other.
“I believe a large factor is one of convenience,” Renard said. “Being able to fuel up, get a cup of coffee, pick up a snack and withdraw some pocket money on the way out the door for snacks, cigarettes…and…cash—to pay for those purchases or for a little pocket spending money.”
Renard explained that patron visits to c-store ATMs and other locations have stayed steady because an estimated 88 million Americans are unbanked (without a checking or savings account) or underbanked (don’t participate in the banking system very much and instead rely on the use of cash rather than checks or credit).
In addition, consumers with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards increasingly rely on ATMs.
“Many of these EBT transactions are surcharge free by state law, thus further enhancing the attractiveness of their use,” Renard said. “Also, very important is the fact that most ATMs at convenience stores are indoors with both video surveillance and a live clerk/manager present at all times—all of which make these locations safe places to get cash.”
More and more Americans with tax refund cards use ATMs to obtain cash as well.
Gregg Edwards, director of operations of FriendShip Food Stores, owned and operated by Fremont, Ohio-based Beck Suppliers Inc., said the 23-store chain places great stock in the financial services that it provides, which includes money orders, money transfers and bill paying. ATMs anchor that offering.
“We do have ATMs in every location,” Edwards said. “We purchase them instead of leasing them and they are a good revenue stream. I also think our core customers expect us to have an ATM.”
Soon, every ATM will be expected to be EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa) compliant. Since October 2015 those issuers and merchants using non-EMV compliant devices that choose to accept transactions made with EMV-compliant cards assume liability for any and all transactions that are found to be fraudulent.
If you want to be a merchant that accepts mobile payments, becoming EMV compliant is essential, and that includes owners and operators of ATMs.
“The costs and operational challenges associated with implementing EMV at the ATM are significant and costly. ATM operators are facing issues with respect to obtaining/maintaining bank accounts for their cash needs to run the business,” Renard said.