Ovation: Cardless ATMs & Virtual Tellers.
Because we charged a couple gifts at Target during Christmastime, our credit card company sent us new cards with new numbers. Better safe than sorry, I suppose, since there was such a big security breach with account numbers and PIN numbers and all. It’s still a nuisance because we have to notify anyone who automatically charges the account of the new number. The fact that my credit card company was acting so proactively made me worry about the safety of my electronic dollars.
Then, last night, I called our local pizza joint to place an order for delivery to our house. Like I’d done dozens of times before, I gave the woman on the phone my credit card number, my card’s expiration date and the “three-digit security code on the back”. It occurred to me, for the first time that, in addition to the zip code for the address where the pizza would be delivered, this woman now had all the information required she needed to use my card herself.
“Something needs to change.” I thought to myself. And then I learned that change was, indeed, coming.
A new type of smarter ATMs will soon be replacing the simple, debit-card based machines that we all use now. New cardless ATMS are the next step toward branchless banking. Many banks, in an effort to lure younger, more tech-savvy, customers have already begun to use mobile wallets to let customers withdraw money with just a few clicks on a smartphone. Using a smartphone app, customers can simply choose the amount of money that they want to withdraw using their phone rather than tapping an ATM keypad. Once they approach an ATM, the smartphone communicates with the machine to complete a withdrawal and a receipt is sent via email. Since neither a card nor a PIN code are required, the transaction is much more secure.
Many banks already accept deposits using smartphone apps that simply submit a photo of a check and process it as if it had been presented to a live teller. ATMs are also getting a more human touch and some banks are already offering “virtual tellers” that appear on a video screen. Better options for better security, including voice recognition, biometrics, fingerprinting and retinal scanning, are also being considered to prove a users identity and it won’t be long before ATMs in major cities begin to accept alternative currencies like bitcoin. The banks that don’t keep up with technology will be the ones closing their branches the fastest.
Before long, people could be banking entirely through cell phones or televisions … we may be a completely cashless society with no need for ATMs at all.
I wonder how we’ll pay for our pizzas.
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