With the pandemic now gradually entering its second year, access to cash still stays essential and a basic need. ATMs have played a crucial role during the pandemic, perhaps more than ever. Most of us have been in need for cash during the pandemic, and ATMs installed near us have come to our rescue. They have been ensuring that consumers do not have to wander around or wait up in long queues when in need of cash. Plus, it is not just cash that ATMs have been providing access to. As the bank branches have been reducing their operations due to the pandemic, these machines have started providing wider and more nuanced banking services to the consumers.
Consumer behavior, when it comes to banking, has been changing rapidly. Several nations have adopted more low-value and contactless payments. Plus, there has been a sharp increase in e-commerce transactions and digital banking as well. However, that does not mean that the demand for the services of the ATM has reduced in any way. In fact, as stated earlier, the ATM stands as an important service in itself, especially for those who are still looking for more options in banking.
That said, we shall now look into how banks and ATMs have changed their operations during the pandemic, over the next few sections of the article. And while we are at that, we shall also discuss how consumers have been changing their banking and cash withdrawal behavior.
Cash Withdrawal Patterns Have Been Evolving:
There are several factors that have been influencing the cash withdrawal behavior of consumers. It is irrefutable that digital transactions have shot up owing to the pandemic. People want to avoid queuing up at banks and want to go about their transactions digitally using various payment apps and services.
However, despite these digital transactions, several countries still rely significantly on cash. In fact, as a result of the pandemic and due to market volatilities, consumers have also started withdrawing cash. Most people have been withdrawing cash from ATMs so that they can be financially prepared in case of any emergency or a crisis.
This change in consumer behavior has also led to the banks and other financial institutions to reevaluate their values and current cash forecasts. Banks and financial institutions have started charging less for transaction frequencies and increased their withdrawal values. This is because consumers are no longer interested in making physical transactions at the bank but want to withdraw money from the ATMs.
Branch Activities at the Bank Have Changed Ever Since Physical Distancing Has Become the Norm:
Self-service and more nuanced atm solutions have become more than ever. Banks might not be able to work remotely; however, branches are now witnessing lesser operations. Banks and other financial institutions are now encouraging their customers to opt for self-service solutions using digital transactions. Some banks have even made it easy for their customers to withdraw cash from the ATMs by increasing their daily withdrawal limit.
There was a sharp increase in branch activities when the pandemic was still in its initial stages. However, with the cases going through the roof, and social distancing becoming the new norm, branch activities have reduced significantly. It is expected that this shall be the trend as long the virus is still at large. Several banks around the globe have also issued guidelines to protect the privacy of their customers. This included migrating over-the-counter cash transactions and payments to mobile and several self-service channels.
Banks and Consumers Have Started Resorting to Technology to Go about Transactions:
As we mentioned earlier, banks and financial institutions need to recalculate their values and models of cash forecasting. Cash optimization has become the priority of these banks and for good enough reasons. Banks have started depending on technology more than ever, and therefore, it is important that they make sure that their self-service technology is fully functional and operating without a glitch.
Cash recycling is also expected to play a major role in the availability of cash. Plus, drive-in ATMs are now much in trend since consumers prefer their cars over queues, and are expected to keep the cash available at all times.
In a Nutshell:
The economy is in a precarious condition, and banks and financial institutions have been struggling to remain afloat. This is one of the main reasons why these institutions need to reevaluate their models and make cash optimization their priority. As can be inferred from the discussion, banks and ATMs have changed their operations drastically during the pandemic.
As social distancing became the new norm, banks started reducing their branch operations and instead started resorting to smart self-service solutions. It can thus, be said that this shall be the trend further down the line, and consumers will now have to make their peace with the new normal.