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As Their ATM Networks Mature and Expand, Banks Are Focusing on Costs, Practicalities.



Many financial institutions have invested substantial sums to build automated teller machine automated teller machine (ATM), device used by bank customers to process account transactions. Typically, a user inserts into the ATM a special plastic card that is encoded with information on a magnetic strip.  (ATM) networks. In the mid-1970s, banks angled for short-term marketing gains as they installed ATMs. At that time, cost per transaction, data security and other practicalities frequently took a back seat to marketing drives.

But now, as ATM networks mature, banks are eyeing ATM assets differently. While they still hope for marketing bonuses, bankers realize that competitive ATM installations reduce their lead-edge potential, so the ATM spotlight has switched. Today, bankers are asking:

* How can I increase ATM volume on existing machines?

* What tactics might minimize backroom back·room  
n. or back room
1. A room located at the rear.

2. The meeting place used by an inconspicuous controlling group.

adj.
1.
 ATM processing and programming requirements?

* Can I simultaneously expand my network, take advantage of new technology, and protect my previous investment in ATMs?

* If I am entering a shared-network environment, how can I enhace data security?

* Are there low-cost options for moving machines off premises?

* What strategies can I follow to persuade a wider segment of my customer base to use an ATM to do their own transactions?

Vendors such as NCR Corporation (company) NCR Corporation - Electronics company mainly active in the midrange server market.

NCR was founded 1884 as National Cash Register Company. It joint the computer industry in th 1950s.
 are sensitized sensitized /sen·si·tized/ (sen´si-tizd) rendered sensitive.

sensitized

rendered sensitive.


sensitized cells
see sensitization (2).
 to this shift, which influences the kind of ATM products financial institutions demand. The following overview highlights ATM trends we have identified and looks at how new ATM features can help financial institutions meet growing practical concerns:

Financial institutions are striving to lure lure

the skin-covered object which runs on a monorail on a Greyhound racing track and which the dogs are schooled to chase. The lure must be kept 30 to 40 ft ahead of the leading dog so that the field is stretched out.
 automation-shy customers and boost transaction volumes. Through improved customer lead-through, they also are trying to increase repeat usage and reduce "operator error" rates among the users of their ATMs.

Because mature ATM networks already have attracted most "early adapters," bank strategies now focus on more-reticent ATM prospects. The goal is to boost transaction volumes to the highest feasible level, spread their network expenses, and at the same time lower costs per ATM transaction.

Of course, feasible transaction-per-machine goals vary from institution to institution. For instance, a loan company may establish a monthly objective of 400 transactions per machine. Because its cost of utilizing ATMs to service repeat loan customers is much lower than in-office processing, a loan company's volumes don't have to be staggering to reap substantial savings. In contrast, though, some banks may target 3,500 to 4,000 transactions per month for in-lobby units, and 10,000 per month or higher for the through-the-wall, 24-hour-available ATM units.

Trial Incentives Also Can Help

To achieve established goals, financial institutions can employ target marketing and offer trial incentives. Banks with statewide ATM networks may concentrate promotion/advertising dollars on low-usage areas with selected themes and media aimed at older, blue-collar, less-educated or non-Enlgish-speaking populations. To encourage customers to try ATMs initially--or to experiment with non-withdrawal transactions--some banks are programming microprocessor-controlled ATMs to print "prize" notices on customer receipts. Some promotions are highly sophisticated. For example, ATMs may be programmed to print a different letter on each type of transaction receipt. To win a prize, customers must attempt several transactions to accumulate Accumulate

Broker/analyst recommendation that could mean slightly different things depending on the broker/analyst. In general, it means to increase the number of shares of a particular security over the near term, but not to liquidate other parts of the portfolio to buy a security
 enough receipts to be able to spell a word.

In recent months, in-lobby ATMs have been gaining popularity as a means of reaching "second-tier" customers--those who prefer the security and comfort of a bank lobby to do banking business.

However, some bankers have voiced the opinion that, in order to truly be a teller TELLER. An officer in a bank or other institution. He is said to take that name from tallier, or one who kept a tally, because it is his duty to keep the accounts between the bank or other institution and its customers, or to make their accounts tally.  replacement, the in-lobby ATM must provide four-denomination dispensing dispensing

provision of drugs or medicines as set out properly on a lawful prescription. A prescription can only be filled, the drugs supplied, by a registered pharmacist, veterinarian, dentist or member of the medical profession.
, such as twenties, tens, fives and ones, as well as accept all types of deposits and payments, while at the same time taking up no more space than a human teller would take.

Experiments with placement of in-lobby ATMs in the traditional teller counter have met with mixed results. Some banks feel that a "teller replacement" must be located exactly where the human teller was previously found to the highly successful.

Others believe that in high-volume locations, where queuing lines are used to direct teller traffic, a better placement would be near the entrance to the teller queue Pronounced "Q." A temporary holding place for data. See queuing, message queue and print queue.

(programming) queue - A first-in first-out data structure used to sequence objects. Objects are added to the tail of the queue ("enqueued") and taken off the head ("dequeued").
. This would force the customer to choose either the fast-service ATM or stand in line for the human teller, thus encouraging ATM usage by those who don't want to wait.

Machine Flexiblity Is Needed

To adequately serve this market, vendors must provide ATMs that work eqaully well for in-counter line or free-standing placement. Another plus would be an ATM capable of being easily and inexpensively relocated re·lo·cate  
v. re·lo·cat·ed, re·lo·cat·ing, re·lo·cates

v.tr.
To move to or establish in a new place: relocated the business.

v.intr.
, either within the branch location or to new locations, as banks continue to experiment in their search for the best possible customer-service combinations.

But innovative marketing strategies and additional in-lobby ATM placements are just part of the answer in wooing new prospects. To prompt repreat usage, banks must pay attention to human factors. People come back to ATMs again and again only if user-friendly ATMs persuade them to do so. Both voice-response and CRT (1) (C RunTime) See runtime library.

(2) (Cathode Ray Tube) A vacuum tube used as a display screen in a computer monitor or TV. The viewing end of the tube is coated with phosphors, which emit light when struck by electrons.
 graphics features are powerful new persuaders.

Numerous studies indicate that people absorb information far more easily and quickly when written instructions are bolstered bol·ster  
n.
A long narrow pillow or cushion.

tr.v. bol·stered, bol·ster·ing, bol·sters
1. To support or prop up with or as if with a long narrow pillow or cushion.

2.
 by visual and verbal clues. For instance, if customers hear a voice telling them to "insert your deposit envelope" while they simultaneously by CRT graphics message accompanied by CRT graphics that show an envelope being properly inserted, the odds are they'll quickly grasp what must be done.

Use of graphics also minimizes the amount of text that must be put on the CRT screen Noun 1. CRT screen - the display that is electronically created on the surface of the large end of a cathode-ray tube
screen

screen background, desktop, background - (computer science) the area of the screen in graphical user interfaces against which icons
. Without a picture, the CRT message might have to spell out the location of the envelope slot and how the envelope is to be inserted. A picture supplants such extra verbiage verbiage - When the context involves a software or hardware system, this refers to documentation. This term borrows the connotations of mainstream "verbiage" to suggest that the documentation is of marginal utility and that the motives behind its production have little to do with  and minimizes reading requirements. This speeds transactions for all and aids customers who have difficulty reading English.

Graphics capabilities also can be tapped to display double-size characters. This feature can make ATM transactions much easier for those individuals with visual impairments Visual Impairment Definition

Total blindness is the inability to tell light from dark, or the total inability to see. Visual impairment or low vision is a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses and
.

Using graphics capabilities to provide multi-lingual support is another option. Institutions with messages displayed in Spanish, French, or even Chinese or Arabic. Some West Coast banks now use ATMs equipped with both Chinese and standard alphanumeric alphanumeric (ăl'fənmĕr`ĭk) or alphameric (ăl'fəmĕr`ĭk), the set of letters and numbers.  character sets. The human-voice messages relayed by ATMs can be multi-lingual, too, as an additional customer service.

Voice Helps Correct Errors

But the most significant use of voice may be in the remedial REMEDIAL. That which affords a remedy; as, a remedial statute, or one which is made to supply some defects or abridge some superfluities of the common law. 1 131. Com. 86. The term remedial statute is also applied to those acts which give a new remedy. Esp. Pen. Act. 1.  mode. Here voice messages are triggered by customer errors, such as keying the wrong personal identification number (PIN) or requesting too large withdrawal. The voice explains what's wrong and how to correct the mistake.

Relying on voice messages for remedial instruction serves two purposes. First, it is non-frightening assistance for confused ATM novices. Second, it quickly alerts regular ATM users, who may not look at CRT screens after memorizing common sequences, that something's wrong and out-of-sync. This speeds recovery and transaction throughput.

Naturally, such features have marketing potential. Voice messages humanize hu·man·ize  
tr.v. hu·man·ized, hu·man·iz·ing, hu·man·iz·es
1. To portray or endow with human characteristics or attributes; make human: humanized the puppets with great skill.

2.
 ATMs and allow banks to personally thank customers, relay seasonal greetings, and cross-sell. When new cars go on display in dealer showrooms, banks can pull from their libraries of voice cassettes one that contains a reminder of the bank's auto loan program.

Similarly, financial institutions can use graphics to reinforce an image by employing high-quality custom logos, symbols or other artwork Artwork may refer to:
  • Visual art, focus on the creation of works which are primarily visual in nature, such as painting, photography, printmaking, and filmmaking
 programmed into non-erasable microchips. However, we see enhanced customer lead-through as the major incentive for adding graphics and voice-response capabilities to ATMs, with marketing appeal becoming a nice spin-off The situation that arises when a parent corporation organizes a subsidiary corporation, to which it transfers a portion of its assets in exchange for all of the subsidiary's capital stock, which is subsequently transferred to the parent corporation's shareholders.  benefits.

Network Size, Age Affect Choice

Incidentally, we see the size and age of ATM networks as major factors influencing when banks decide to embrace such new ATM technology. Let's say, for example, that a bank has a 100-plus machine network including many ATMs that are more than three years old. Though voice-response and CRT-graphics upgrade kits are available for older units, this bank probably would postpone post·pone  
tr.v. post·poned, post·pon·ing, post·pones
1. To delay until a future time; put off. See Synonyms at defer1.

2. To place after in importance; subordinate.
 adding new capabilities until it replaced its base of older machines. However, an institution with predominantly pre·dom·i·nant  
adj.
1. Having greatest ascendancy, importance, influence, authority, or force. See Synonyms at dominant.

2.
 new units that needed to install a number of additional ATMs would be the most likely to upgrade immediately.

Banks are attempting to speed the most common transactions made by a seasoned customer base. As marketing programs succeed and lines form behind ATMs, banks are trying to solve an emerging customer-service problem--lengthy wait-time for ATM access. In this area, many small changes can make a large difference in cumulative throughput time.

Perhaps Japanese banks are the most aggressive. Because their country's money has properties that allow it to be electronically counted, customers can make cash deposits without envelopes. This means customers don't need to fill out envelopes and bank staffers don't need to later open envelopes and count their contents.

Transaction Sequence Altered

On the home front, one California One California is a skyscraper in San Francisco, California. The building rises 438 feet (134 meters) in the northern region of San Francisco’s Financial District. It contains 32 floors, and was completed in 1969.  bank has altered the sequence in which it presents transaction screens to customers. Since withdrawals are the most common transaction, the first screen immediately gives customers the choice of which account they wish to access for a withdrawal. Customers wanting to make other transactions simply move to the other transactions simply move to the next screen. The positive effect of eliminating one step in the withdrawal sequence is the speeding up of 70 percent of total customer transactions.

US financial institutions also are relying on specialized spe·cial·ize  
v. spe·cial·ized, spe·cial·iz·ing, spe·cial·iz·es

v.intr.
1. To pursue a special activity, occupation, or field of study.

2.
 keys to streamline routine transactions. For instance, if a $25 withdrawal is the most common transaction, a "Fast Cash" key is pre-programmed to deliver this amount. If, over time, $50 replaces $25 as the most commonly requested withdrawal sum, the "Fast Cash" key can be re-programmed for the $50 amount.

Some institutions have taken this feature a step further, associating pre-set customer name fields and dollar amounts with customer accounts in their central computer files. In this case, when a customer requests "Fast Cash," the computer looks at the file to determine his or her regular withdrawal, say $100, and tells the ATM to deliver this amount. In addition, when the ATM asks which account should be tapped for withdrawal, it displays choices by account names--"Net Eggs", "Groceries," and other such personalized per·son·al·ize  
tr.v. per·son·al·ized, per·son·al·iz·ing, per·son·al·iz·es
1. To take (a general remark or characterization) in a personal manner.

2. To attribute human or personal qualities to; personify.
 names assigned by the customer to various savings and checking accounts.

Programming ATMs to permit customers to insert a bankcard bank·card  
n.
A card issued by a bank authorizing the holder to receive bank services and often functioning as a debit card.
 from the previous transaction is another common tactic to reduce customer wait-time at high-volume ATM locatins, while still retaining the protection afforded by the shield during less busy times.

Because computer programming and backroom ATM processing impact ATM transaction costs Transaction Costs

Costs incurred when buying or selling securities. These include brokers' commissions and spreads (the difference between the price the dealer paid for a security and the price they can sell it).
, banks are searching for ways to streamline support requirements. Historically, balancing ATM deposit/payment envelopes has been a time-consuming operation. When financial institutions beging sharing ATMs, the process can become even more cumbersome cum·ber·some  
adj.
1. Difficult to handle because of weight or bulk. See Synonyms at heavy.

2. Troublesome or onerous.



cum
, as envelopes must be sorted by institution. Manual processing also requires customers to do more work. They are asked to print routine data such as name, bank (if it's a shared network), account number and deposit amount on envelopes.

New programmable ink-jet printing capabilities enable ATMs to image directly on envelopes all information needed to balance deposits, speeding processing and reducing transaction time by eliminating the need for customers to fill in data. Printing options available now include account and institution numbers, date/time, transaction type and amount.

Data Imaged on Coin Envelopes

Because ink-jet printers don't rely on impact-printing methods, data can be imaged on envelopes holding coins. Besides simplifying by-institution sorts in a shared environment, the printing option reduces the time tellers need to balance deposits in any environment, since there's no need to reference separate journal tapes.

On the computer programming side, new developments are easing the ATM support burden. One is the appearance of ATM emulation (architecture) emulation - When one system performs in exactly the same way as another, though perhaps not at the same speed. A typical example would be emulation of one computer by (a program running on) another.  models. When a bank has a sizable siz·a·ble also size·a·ble  
adj.
Of considerable size; fairly large.



siza·ble·ness n.
 on-line network linking one vendor's ATMs to its host computer, it is seldom anxious to invest more programmer (1) A hardware device used to customize a programmable logic chip such as a PAL, GAL, EPROM, etc. See PROM programmer.

(2) A person who designs the logic for and writes the lines of codes of a computer program.
 hours to develop software interfaces for another vendor's products. For starters, its programming staff already may be booked 18 months ahead with pressing projects.

However, this same bank may want to take advantage of features a second vendor has to offer, perhaps a compact ATM model ideal for off-premise installations where floor space is scarce. Emulation models solve such dilemmas, permitting banks to select ATMs based on features and price, not programming overhead. For example, one currently available emulation series is plug-to-plug compatible with existing IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, www.ibm.com) The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries)  3624 and Diebold 910 networks, and so requires no host/controller changes.

Financial institutions (and retailers) are increasingly joining shared ATM networks to reduce service delivery costs. Many locations (office buildings, shopping malls, grocery stores) have enough traffic to support one ATM shared by several institutions, but they have insufficient volume to support multiple ATMs. This is one of the attractive economic incentives for establishing shared regional ATM networks.

Another is the desire of some lead area banks to recoup recoup

To sell an asset at a price sufficient to recover the original outlay or to offset a previous loss.
 development expenses they've made to bring up sophisticated on-line ATM networks. By acting as ATM switches for correspondents and smaller banks, such institutions gain a new source of fee income.

Sharing Does Create Hazards

While there are many advantages in sharing ATM systems, there are also some hazards. One of these is data security. In a shared environment, a bank may not want to give the ATM switch operator--possibly another bank--its customers' PIN numbers. However, if the switch does not have these numbers, it can't verify a given customer's identity. As a result, the switch must transmit PIN and account numbers to the institutions that assigned these numbers.

When such transmissions--ATM to switch and switch to user banks--are sent in clear text over telephoen lines, potential security risks on this sensitive data mount. However, these risks now can be eliminated by using PIN block-encryption techniques. For instance, all our currently available ATM models are capable of data encryption data encryption, the process of scrambling stored or transmitted information so that it is unintelligible until it is unscrambled by the intended recipient. Historically, data encryption has been used primarily to protect diplomatic and military secrets from foreign  to meet requirements of selected VISA and ANSI (American National Standards Institute, New York, www.ansi.org) A membership organization founded in 1918 that coordinates the development of U.S. voluntary national standards in both the private and public sectors. It is the U.S. member body to ISO and IEC.  communication standards.

Sharing Is Changing ATM Mix

The shared-network trend also is increasing demand for ATM models that are practical and cost-effective in environments where in-the-wall units are not. This trend, combined with a move toward less-stringent branch-banking restrictions and propriertary network drives to boost ATM transaction volumes, is definitely altering the mix of ATMs being installed. We see increasing evidence of this change in requests for information and in the incoming equipment orders for these models.

This changing ATM mix brings us back to our original premise. It reflects the desire of financial institutions of more specialized machines tailored to meet the needs of different environments is a practical solution to the changing needs in the marketplace.

Like most electronic products, ATMs have been dropping in Dropping in is a skateboarding trick with which a skateboarder can start skating a half-pipe by dropping into it from the coping instead of starting from the bottom and pumping gradually for more speed.  price. This also is sparking demand for more units in more varied locations. A "fully-featurized" ATM with CRT graphics and voice-response now costs about 35 percent less than a bare-bones off-line cash dispenser did when ATMs were first introduced. With lower equipment costs, banks now are able to cost-justify shorter ATM depreciation time schedules and embrace new ATM technology more quickly.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Feaganes, R.
Publication:Communications News
Date:Oct 1, 1985
Words:2416
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