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How Interactive
Teller Machines
are changing the
future of the
bank branch

Author: Al Rhiel

While credit cards, digital wallets and local payment methods continue to grow in popularity with brick-and-mortar shoppers, cash is still very much king. According to the US Federal Reserve, cash is still used for 26% of all transactions, second only to debit cards.

For banks and other financial institutions, making it easy for customers to get instant access to their cash is a business imperative, leading to the rise of wireless ATMs over the past few decades. However, cash is just one thing customers need. They also require a whole host of banking services ranging from loan applications to getting help with complex transactions–services ATMs can’t render.

There are only so many places you can put a bank branch, while real estate costs can make it cost-prohibitive to open a new branch where customers need it most. To serve both the needs for easy access to cash and banking services, a new wave of multi-access edge computing (MEC) and 5G-enabled Interactive Teller Machines (ITM)  can help banks bridge the gap between their digital and in-branch experience.

A customer can use an Interactive Teller Machine to not only get cash, but to open an account, apply for a loan, ask a question about a mortgage, or almost anything else a customer would usually need to go into a bank branch to talk to a teller for. While an ITM looks similar to other ATM solutions, these connected machines have the capability to offer personalized banking services featuring live video with bank staff.

Rather than have tellers spread across physical branches, a bank would have tellers working from a central location that would allow them to connect to customers accessing the Interactive Teller Machine anywhere in the world. This helps deliver the same personal experience customers want from their bank while providing the digital scale banks need to grow their business. In the near future, AI-powered lifelike avatars will be able to have live conversations, providing teller services at scale.

The benefits of Interactive Teller Machines

For banks, there are several advantages to ITMs over both ATMs and physical branches:

  1. Increased cost savings: While more expensive than an ATM, an ITM is virtually a branch itself. Rather than open up a large prime location in a new market, a bank could simply place a suite of ITMs in a lobby, allowing it to expand its presence in a new market without taking on an expensive lease or hiring a large staff.
  2. Greater agility: Similarly, ITMs allow a bank to quickly enter and expand into new markets without building out full branches. This allows banks to test new regions, cities and even neighborhoods to ensure the customer demand is there before rolling out a new branch.
  3. Improved customer experience: An ITM gives customers access to full bank capabilities, 24 hours a day, saving them from having to go to a branch during business hours.
  4. Improved branch experience: While an ITM can be used to replace a branch, many banks are using ITMs to supplement their existing branch services. Customers who visit the branch can use the ITM for most services, but still have the option of speaking to a teller if they need it. This allows tellers to focus on customers who have more demanding issues, letting the ITM take care of simple, high-volume tasks like deposits and withdrawals. It also allows banks to scale their teller service without adding headcount.
  5. Increased security: As a part of a bank’s omnichannel strategy, an ITM works with a customer’s digital banking apps to provide more secure service. For example, customers can go through the process of withdrawing cash from their phone app, and then go to the ITM itself to complete the transaction. Because all of the transaction takes place on the phone, there is less chance of a password being stolen or skimmed. In addition, voice and facial recognition can make an ITM far more secure than its PIN-based ATM counterpart.
  6. Streamlined operations: The more banks can integrate ITMs into their operations, the more they can reduce the physical footprint of individual branch locations as they are able to centralize more of their teller services to be delivered via video. This helps reduce HR costs, rents, office equipment costs, and more.

Top considerations for Interactive Teller Machines

Just as when you built out your wireless ATM capacity, there are a few things you will need to keep in mind when developing your ITM strategy.

The first is that Interactive Teller Machines require a strong, constant connection to deliver reliable live video services. A poor connectivity experience at one ITM can tarnish the reputation of your entire ITM network and your overall bank brand. A high-availability, high-speed network is essential to ensuring your ITMs can deliver service. 5G Edge can enable highly-secure, near real-time connectivity between people, devices, data and your computer resources so that your ITMs can deliver branch-like service anywhere.

Next, consider your ITM in the context of your overall omnichannel strategy. It will be key to ensure that your ITM network is seamlessly integrated with your physical branches and your online banking services so that customers can switch back and forth between touchpoints without having to restart their transactions.

Finally, ensure you have the infrastructure in place to support the needs of ITMs. That means having an appropriately-sized staff of remote tellers available to provide service 24 hours a day in the preferred spoken languages of your customers.

Leveraging Interactive Teller Machines with Verizon

Make sure that your financial institution is able to keep up with the fast-growing expectations of today's customers with ITMs powered by Verizon Enterprise Solutions. We help banks and other financial institutions to take their business to their customers, rather than the other way around, allowing you to deploy ITMs to quickly satisfy the needs of your customers without incurring costly overhead expenses that come with opening branches.

Over the Verizon 4G LTE and 5G network, ITM customers can speak live with your customer support representatives through interactive video. By delivering a personable, personalized experience, you can set your brand apart while enabling the quick delivery of profitable new services through your ITM, like on-the-spot loan applications or credit line extensions.

Step into the new world of banking and deliver convenience and value with Verizon’s ITM Solutions. Learn more about Verizon Financial Services Solutions.

As a Solutions Architect for Verizon Business, Al Rhiel provides technical expertise and guidance to internal and external customer-facing teams for Verizon Business products and services for the Finance vertical.