Banks Turning To Interactive ATMs To Reconnect Customers With Tellers

interactiveDepositing a check, transferring funds between bank accounts and withdrawing cash used to entail a drive to the bank and sometimes a long wait in line to see a teller. Today, with the advent of mobile banking consumers rarely have to come face-to-face with another human being. But the newest development in banking aims to reconnect consumers with the teller, kind of.

Interactive teller machines, which combine customers and virtual tellers, are joining the plethora of options available for consumer’s banking convenience, The Washington Post reports.

Customers visiting one of the new machines can now complete a number of transactions via the two-way video which connects to a teller in a remote location. The virtual option has been gaining ground recently as banks and credit unions have been exploring ways to cut costs.

“It’s a great use of self-service technology but it’s also personal because you’re face-to-face,” Brian Bailey, a vice president at NCR, a New York-based technology company that sells interactive tellers, tells the Post.

Consumers can expect to complete a number of transactions, like withdraws and deposits, at the interactive tellers. For more nuanced transactions customers can use the built-in signature pads and audio and video capability to easily connect with a teller.

While the new machines are similar to ATMs, there are several stark differences. Consumers can withdraw larger amounts of funds. Because the machines offer an array for coins, checks can be cashed down to the cent, Bailey says.

The new teller machines have found a bit of a niche with smaller banks looking for alternative means of increasing their presence in communities without building storefronts. Bailey says that community banks and credit unions have been among the first to experiment with the new technology, but more recently NCR has provided the tellers to large banks such as Bank of America and U.S. Bank.

The State Employees Credit Union in Maryland has been using the machines in a handful of locations for nearly a year with positive results.

“Customer reaction has been quite good,” Peggy Tucker, senior vice president for member relations and branch operations at SECU, says. “Members are easily adapting to the new technology. One of the biggest benefits of having the video teller is that we are able to offer expanded teller hours.”

Three employees operate the machines from the SECU headquarters in Linthicum, MD. So far the machines have proven to be a cheaper and more efficient than hiring more employees, Tucker says.

Banks turn to video tellers to cut costs [The Washington Post]