Year 1967 marked the start of a revolution in banking, when Barclays installed the first-ever Automated Teller Machine (ATM) on a street corner in the borough of Enfield, London. It was a simple device, designed to dispense £10 notes through the day.Between 1967 and 2018, the ATM has evolved exponentially in terms of both technology and reach. While the basic function of an ATM continues to be dispensing money, the technology – both hardware and software – has undergone a sea-change. In recent times, ATMs have added new capabilities such as video-teller capabilities, biometric identification, and card-free access with smartphones for more secure transactions.
New types of ATMs or Automated Teller Machines are now revolutionizing the banking industry in India. These machines, called CRMs (cash recycling machines), are designed to recycle deposited cash for use in subsequent withdrawal transactions. The benefit of deploying a cash recycler is enhanced efficiency – both in terms of operations as well as costs, consistent and reliable counting of cash and detection of counterfeit notes during both cash deposit and cash withdrawal, enforcing RBI’s clean note policy as well as 24 X 7 availability. The CRM has emerged as a better alternative, as it is more cost effective than separate specialized devices for dispensing and depositing.
For financial institutions, the cost of handling cash represents a significant part of ATM operating costs. In a CRM, since the cash deposited by the customer is also recycled for withdrawal, the frequency of cash loading and replenishment can be minimized, reducing the number of CIT (Cash-in-transit agency) visits, in turn reducing CIT, cash sorting and cash handling costs. Also, retailers have recognized the immense value of these machines and are adopting recycling technology as it automates the manual process of counting and sorting of cash, thereby streamlining the administrative and cash management processes.
Offering convenience to customers has always been central to CRMs. A smart CRM today offers benefits such as cardless deposits, online credit, bill payments by way of barcode scanning and secure access through NFC technology. CRMs are designed to support the Digital India initiatives including Bharat QR code for Cardless withdrawal, soft-keyboard for data-entry of UPI transactions and Aadhaar – enabled biometric authentication, thereby making it more feature rich and customer-friendly.
Going by the consumer demand for DIY (Do-It-Yourself) banking over the last few years, CRMs are expected to become an essential constituent for financial institutions and banks self-service channel in the near future.
We are already witnessing how smart CRMs are able to precisely recognize the visiting customer. With the help of data analytics, these machines can deliver personalized messages and content, greatly increasing the potential for superior customer engagement.
Powered by back-end data analytics, software tools and customer segmentation strategies, these smart CRMs can emerge as clairvoyant avenues for a financial institution’s cross-selling endeavors. All these features have translated in making the CRM the ideal centerpiece of an Omni-channel banking environment.
CRMs represent the true future of the self-service channel in India. With advanced hardware and software technologies, smart CRMs are tipped to become an invaluable channel that generates great economic value. Banks that have adopted smart CRM technology have not only enhanced customer experience but have also built cost efficiencies. With interoperability, it will also enable banks to generate additional revenue and attract new customers.
As technology progresses, the CRM is likely to be an intelligent and cost-effective extension of the bank branch, providing customers with most banking services and with a more personalized touch. Aren’t you excited about this future? I surely am!
(By Rustom Irani, CEO–Cash Business, Hitachi Payment Services)