COVID-19 has impacted the banking needs and demands of consumers. Adapting ATMs to meet consumer’s expectations is key to banking transformation. QR codes is one example of how their application within an ATM context can help achieve zero-touch banking, with customers avoiding physical touch of the ATM as they withdraw cash or avail of other banking services.

Speaking at the CR2-hosted webinar on how COVID-19 is shaping ATM trends and driving innovation, CR2’s Head of Presales, Patrick Simons underscored the important role ATMs can play in augmenting and complimenting other banking channels – particularly digital platforms.

An overview of banking trends in Africa was presented by Andrew Dean, the Managing Director of Calleo and ATMIA board member, showing that both ATM usage and ATM transactions have increased significantly over the past 18 months, with the role of the ATM changing from simply being a means for withdrawing and depositing cash to now becoming a multipurpose device fulfilling a variety of banking self-service functions. With consumers looking for safe ways to fulfil their banking needs, Dean emphasised the growing demand for contactless and cardless transactions facilitated through QR codes at ATMs.

Simons outlined the key role ATMs can play in responding to these trends and challenges and how it is imperative that banks take an innovative, cross-functional – rather than siloed approach – to their various channels. Simons stressed, “Having that interoperability with digital channels and the ATM to offer advanced services is key.”

It is imperative that the customer experience and journey when engaging across channels is frictionless, and the use of QR codes at ATMs is one way to enable this.  “QR codes are a great way to connect a mobile device to a physical device through a back-end server – where the mobile device acts as the interaction point,” says Simons. He explained how a customer uses their mobile device to key in their transaction on their banking app and then initiates that transaction by scanning a QR code on an ATM. The server then permits the transaction to take place. The process for the customer is simple, secure, completely contactless and doesn’t require the use of a bank card.

The QR code displayed on the ATM screen can only be used once and changes at specified intervals on the screen – it contains security-related data and information about the specific ATM location. There is no risk of duplicate transactions or the money being dispensed from the incorrect ATM.

“The QR code can be used in a lot of different ways – from something basic like withdrawing cash, to cash depositing and frictionless unassisted banking services,” says Simons.

The benefits of using QR codes are wide-ranging for both the customer and banks. In terms of convenience, it reduces queuing time at the ATM by as much as 50%, plus customers don’t need to carry their bank card to withdraw cash. Using QR codes to transact with an ATM eliminates the risk of card-skimming, and it means that customers can still have access to cash if their bank card has been lost or stolen.

Not only is this contactless method convenient, safe and secure, it also provides cost-savings for banks as it allows them to bypass bank transaction fees – making their ATM network considerably more profitable.

Simons says it is critical that if banks want to remain relevant in the payments space that they move away from legacy-based software to much more intelligent ATM driving.

CR2’s pre-staged QR code transaction service is available on all BankWorld ATM Clients, whether or not cards are hosted in BankWorld and whether or not BankWorld’s Mobile App is used. Simply put, Simons explained, CR2’s QR Code ATM Access enables banks to accelerate digital transformation and amplifies the role Smart ATMs can play in this.

In his concluding remarks, Andrew Dean stressed the ongoing relevance of ATMs and the important role they will continue to play in retail banking and payment channels. He said socio-economic and industry trends were driving the importance of the ATM as a branch substitute and that they can be used very effectively to compliment mobile and agent channels, underscoring the convergence of digital and physical banking platforms.

The webinar concluded with an open discussion of topical questions on the benefits of personalisation and segmentation at the ATM, the role of fintechs in the market and the move away from a siloed infrastructure to an integrated platform working across digital and physical systems, including the emerging interoperability of ATMs and digital wallets. To hear this discussion, and the entire webinar – how COVID 19 is shaping ATM trends and driving innovation – please click here.