4 things your ATM will soon do

Banks are all set to upgrade the ATMs to help reduce footfalls in their branches. Here’s how.

Sushmita Choudhury | Print Edition: September 4, 2008

Your neighbourhood ATM could soon boast several value additions to ease the banking chores. Some of these features have been launched in the country on a trial basis, while others are used abroad and could soon find their way to India.

Instant cheque deposit

The cheque truncation solution, currently in place in most leading banks in the National Capital Region, cuts short the time required to process a cheque. When this facility is shifted to ATMs, you can have the cheque scanned, the amount credited instantly to your account, and also get a copy of the cheque for your records. However, given the cost of these new ATMs (Rs 12.6 lakh per machine as against Rs 8.4 lakh for a plain vanilla ATM), all banks might not adopt this technology in a hurry. However, leading private-sector banks are likely to unveil the machine in select branches in the near future.

Instant cash deposit

Depositing cash in an ATM is nothing new—you put the money in an envelope, fill in the amount and feed it to the machine. The only problem is that the deposit is credited the next working day because the bank has to manually count the amount deposited. However, many banks have now installed machines that verify the amount you feed in and instantly credit the amount to your account. Most banks hope to shift the technology to ATMs soon.

Virtual cash on your mobile phone

The ATM, along with the mobile phone, will soon eliminate the need for a wallet. So far, Indian banks have been offering m-banking facilities like transferring funds or checking the account balance. Now, Diebold and NCR Corporation, leading players in the ATM market, are developing technologies to enable cell phones to transact with an ATM. Over the past two years, Diebold has won five US patents for applications that will enable banking customers to order cash withdrawals remotely, generate electronic cheques, transmit wireless payments and conduct other transactions more securely and conveniently than at present.

More secure transactions

With identity theft and debit card skimming on the rise, banks are considering biometric authentication as a secure solution. As fingerprint readers have limitations like not being able to respond accurately if the user has a cut or an abrasion on the finger, Japan has taken the lead in introducing palm vein authentication. This technology uses the patterns of the blood vessel in the hand as an identifying factor. A user holds his palm a few centimetres above the scanner and it reads the unique vein pattern under the skin. As it does not scan the surface of the skin, the pattern is not easily defaced by dirt, cuts or abrasions, and it is very hard to read surreptitiously or to steal it. This will also help do away with PINs; the system will compare the reading of the user’s hand taken by the scanner to an image stored on the card.

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