Banking is possibly as old as money and as it’s come down through the ages, it’s gone through several changes in order to make the customer experience of withdrawing their own money (a hint of irony if you will) as easy and convenient as possible. While drawing money was initially possible through bank drafts and checks, it later on imbued technology, giving way to the Automated Teller Machine or the ATM that is now a standard feature on pretty much every street corner in the world. The machine itself operates on a very simple premise - the customer inserts a debit card into the machine, punches in a pin code and voila, can withdraw money. At times, of course, this system can be troublesome what with forgetting your card or in extreme cases having it stolen.
But with the advent of the smartphone technology, banks seem to be ready to take the next leap with their ATM services, dispensing with the card and allowing customers to access their bank accounts with only a pin code.
This new technology is being rolled out by the UK-based banks, the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, which have introduced a new banking app for smartphones, allowing their customers to withdraw money simply using their smartphones. Customers are allowed to withdraw sums of up to £100 using a unique six-digit code that is sent directly to their smartphones and which they can then use to access their accounts via an ATM and withdraw money.
The app itself will be available to customers to download and users will have to tap their screens in order to reveal the six-digit withdrawal code in order to prevent anyone but the user from knowing the code. The system can also be used by customers in emergencies if they wish to send amounts to their relatives who do not possess an ATM card. Commenting upon this ‘cardless’ ATM, director of mobile banking at NatWest and RBS, Ben Green, said, "We've heard countless stories from customers who've left their wallet behind, or parents who need a quick way to send money across to their children immediately,” adding, "It is a really simple and secure way to help our customers get cash whenever and wherever they need it."
Similarly, NCR in the US is introducing a modified ATM transaction known as Mobile Cash Withdrawal, in which customers will do away entirely with cards and pin codes and instead use their smartphones and a bar code provided by the bank, to be scanned by an ATM, and withdraw money. NCR’s senior vice president of financial services, Michael O'Laughlin, commented, saying, "We live in a mobile world where the modern consumer expects to handle transactions using a variety of mediums. NCR Mobile Cash Withdrawal will help financial institutions meet their customers' expectations in the mobile channel and help them deliver a differentiated and faster converged-channel experience."