Interactive teller machines give credit unions new abilities - Member Access Processing

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Technology has been making dramatic changes to the banking and payments industries. One of these is the interactive teller machine.

The ITM, like an ATM, allows consumers to insert their cards to withdraw cash, check an account balance or make a deposit. But its capabilities extend beyond these. By using live audio and video, ITMs can also help customers cash checks, regardless of the amount, pay bills and more, according to The Washington Post.

The ITM is connected to a live teller through a two-way video conversation who can assist customers with their requests and talk them through the transaction.

There are a number of ways credit unions and their members are benefited by these new and improved ATMs.

Extending teller hours

Anyone who has tried to rush to a credit union branch before closing knows how frustrating it is to arrive 10 minutes after the doors are locked. Branches are typically opened during traditional working hours, making it difficult for some people to perform their banking tasks.

The ITM solves this problem by extending teller hours without hiring additional people or keeping a whole branch open late. The live teller is located in a central location and can reach ITMs throughout the credit union’s network.

Peggy Tucker, senior vice president for member relations and branch operations at the State Employees Credit Union branch in College Park, Maryland, explained to The Washington Post that the longer hours of availability have been the biggest benefit of adopting the new technology.

Extending a credit union’s reach

Today’s advanced technology allows members to complete a wide range of banking tasks without ever stepping foot inside a branch. Checks can be deposited using a phone, loan applications can be filled out online and a wide range of services can be done using an app.

According to the Detroit Free Press, fewer than half of all bank deposits in 2014 were done with the aid of a teller, compared to 90 percent in 2007. This has led many banks and credit unions to close branches.

When a branch closes, members are left with a tough choice: Will they switch to a new bank or credit union, or stick with the one they know and trust but have limited access to?

By replacing a branch with an ITM, members will be relieved to know that they may not have to make such a difficult choice. They can do their more common banking tasks using the machine without worrying about how far away the nearest branch is.

The same concept can be applied to credit unions in rural areas. A credit union’s reach may be vast, with members living many miles away from a brick and mortar branch. But that doesn’t mean these members should have to trek into town every time they need to cash a check.

An ITM can bring services to underbanked communities and areas that don’t have much access to the branch.

Bringing a personal touch

What’s nice about the ITM is that users are talking to a real person when making the transaction. Some people prefer to have human interaction when accomplishing these tasks to make sure everything is going smoothly.

“I either go in or go through the drive-thru,” Jerry Baran, a 68-year-old Detroit area resident who told the Detroit Free Press that he doesn’t feel comfortable depositing checks with a smartphone camera. “I like to go in to talk to people. I don’t feel comfortable with a machine.”

Community banks and credit unions have been some of the earliest adopters of ITMs because of their face-to-face abilities that are also cost-effective. Coastal Community Credit Union in Duluth Georgia explained that their ITM will allow members to perform banking tasks in a familiar but new way.

“Video interactions have become a common way for people to communicate, and our members will enjoy the speed and convenience provided by our Interactive Teller Machine,” Adrian Legin, president and CEO of the credit union, said in a press release. “NCR APTRA Interactive Teller lets us respond to changing consumer needs by using the latest technology without sacrificing that personal touch and exceptional service that our members enjoy.”

As credit unions continue to expand their services, they should consider using ITMs to reach beyond their current radius without the cost of building a new branch.