The ubiquitous ATM is soon going to become more than
just a cash-dispensing machine. With banks racing
to expand their customer base, there has been a rapid growth
in ATMs. Now banks are set to woo customers by going in for
more value-added services on these machines. The spread
of ATMs is clearly evident with close to 40 per cent of them
deployed off-site against below 10 per cent a year back.
ATM service-providers expect the number of installed ATMs in
the country to more than double within the next one year, with
most demand for this technology coming from State-owned banks.
increase in demand can be attributed to two reasons: the desire
among public sector banks to embrace new technology and the
realisation among service providers that the ATM can be more
than just a cash-dispensing machine. The installed base for
PSU banks is around 1,000 ATMs, with the major buyer of
ATMs this year being the State Bank of India, which hopes to
install 2,000 ATMs by March 2002. Other PSU banks such as Bank
of India, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Central
Bank of India and Punjab National Bank have also taken advantage
of the ATM boom.
Till recently ATM services were confined to deposits and withdrawals
from bank accounts by customers. Now the range of services offered
by ATMs go way beyond this. These machines are capable of several
value-added services such as utility bill payments, airline
and railways ticket booking and the facility to deal in mutual
fund units.Web-enabled kiosks will dictate the future growth
of ATMs. To incorporate these value-added services to present
ATM facilities, banks will have to tie up with the cellular
or electricity service provider, thus enabling the customer
to use the ATM network to pay his bills.