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Cashless Payments Won’t Kill ATMs in the U.S. – Yet

Though many have embraced using mobile wallets and contactless payments, cash isn’t expected to go anywhere soon in the U.S.

It may no longer be the king it once was in places like Sweden and China, where people are rushing toward cashless societies, but people in this nation aren’t abandoning their cash yet. With people still using paper money and coins there is no need to fret over the future of ATMs.

ATMs continue to play essential roles in modern banking and the omnichannel experience, and it fulfills the function of providing access to funds. Though countries across the ocean may consider ATMs are verging on the obsolete, some financial institutions in the U.S. are finding ways to make ATMs part of the full experience.

A Look at the Figures

Despite the uptick in mobile wallet and contactless transaction use, the Federal Reserve’s Diary of Consumer Payment Choice showed that people continue to use cash, especially for small transactions.

For the diary project, 2,800 consumers payments were tracked in October 2017. The diary showed that cash continued to be the most frequently used type of payment, representing 30% of all transactions and 55% of all transactions under $10. About 32% of cash payments were made for purchases between $10 and $24.99.

The survey also found that those between the ages of 18 and 25 and those 45 and older used cash approximately 34% of the time for purchases.

What Some Banks Are Doing

Some traditional financial institutions have developed new initiatives that allow users to make transactions from smartphones, but still, require ATMs.

For instance, Chase cardless ATMs allow people to withdraw money from machines with their smartphones. The users must have their debit cards saved to their phones to use them. Users just place their phones over the NFC symbols on the machine, enter their PINs, and retrieve their funds.

The system uses radio-based frequency technology, also known as NFC. The transactions are secure because they use encryption to read and send sensitive information.

With the use of a wallet, cash also may be sent to a third party. Then, the ATM is used to withdraw the cash that was sent.

What This Means

Banks understand the importance of complete user experiences. They know that ATMs are crucial touch points in customers’ journeys. They also know that the numbers show that there is still a significant part of the populations that want to use cash. Financial institutions will only thrive if they embrace digital payments, as well as some more traditional services, like ATMs.

Banks really aren’t doing anything new. They are merely adjusting to the times, which is what they had to do when consumers began embracing checks, credit cards, and debit cards. Lenders that offer something for everything will satisfy the most customers.

In Conclusion

With both younger and older populations continuing to use cash, it would be foolish to think ATMs would become irrelevant. Technology and shifts in consumer habits and perspectives may change this in the future, but for now, ATMs are here to stay.

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