Bank customers who still want to use a teller but are tired of queuing up at lunchtime will soon have a faster option if the big four banks decide to roll out NCR's APTRA video automatic teller machine (VTM).
View a slideshow of the VTM
The technology, which is set to be trialled by at least one bank in Australia in September, offers customers a mix of traditional ATM services such as cash withdrawals and a video screen with a link to a teller. A teller will be available 24 hours a day to approve loan applications and accept cheque deposits.
NCR marketing manager, Phil Chant, told Computerworld Australia that banks are interested in the technology because it allows them to offer a human presence without building a new branch.
"A traditional bank branch can cost at least $300,000 to build and fit out, so rather than build a branch in say, a remote area [of Australia] where it would be difficult to get staff, they now have a `branch in a box'," he said.
In addition, a bank could install the VTM in a lobby alongside its traditional ATMs. According to Chant, a large number of tradespeople and small businesses still needed to process cash and cheque deposits but these same customers found it most difficult to get to a bank branch during the day.
In addition, a live teller could spot if a customer had someone behind them attempting to look at their PIN details.
“The security aspects of this for bank staff are that rather than having then in a branch, the tellers are located in a secure call centre and there is no cash lying around on counters," Chant said.
When asked if these tellers would be based in Australia or outsourced overseas, he said this was up to the banks.
However, for the service to work in real time, Chant said it would be better if the banks kept this onshore.
When using the video service, customers can hold up a form of ID, such as a driver's licence, to a scanner. Once the teller had verified the customer's details, they could start a loan application, open a new account or process cash/cheque deposits.
For example, a customer could receive the documents via a printout, sign them and then scan the documents using the VTM to have them approved by the teller.
And if the customer has been out on the town and lost his or her ATM card but has another form of ID such as a driver's licence, the teller can view the ID and then approve cash withdrawals.
The APTRA integrates two-way video conferencing from US company uGenius. Australian banks can operate on in-house IP networks so they can deliver a real-time service and richer graphics.
Chant said he could see a time in the near future when all traditional ATMs have been replaced by VTMs in Australia.
"It’s a question of fitting the machine to the demographic or the community," he said.
"With this, they could deploy stand alone VTMs in a shopping centre.”
The technology may also be applied to a retail setting. For example, a kiosk could be set up so if customers go to a store and the product is out of the stock, they could use the kiosk to order products directly from the warehouse.
Customers could also use the kiosk to talk to a retail expert in another store.
NCR is planning to showcase the VTM in Melbourne during September at a roadshow for its financial customers including banks and credit unions.
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