Interactive teller machines combine the old with the new.

How Advanced Terminals and ITMs Are Not One and the Same

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Financial institutions are straddling demands to manage costs and meet the evolving needs of consumers. As a result, retail branch networks are increasingly looking for opportunities to move 'low value' branch transactions to self-service so that staff can focus on enhancing the customer experience and boost revenues. 

There is opportunity in the ATM space. It's true that the primary function of the ATM remains cash dispensing, but an increasingly tech-savvy consumer is ready for more. As a result, roughly 25% of banks now prioritize the addition of new features and functions to reinvigorate their fleet, according to newly released polling from ATM Marketplace.

"Customers want the same services they've always received from their bank – only better."

Enter Advanced Terminals and ITMs (interactive teller machines). These new technologies provide cutting-edge hardware and software, building on existing self-service capabilities. As a result, they shift traditional teller transactions to a new channel, fulfill consumer demand for the 'high tech, high touch' experience, and boost brand impression.

However, to say that Advanced Terminals and ITMs are more or less the same – a souped-up version of an ATM – is simply simplistic. Terms are often used interchangeably given common benefits, but understanding how the technologies differ from one another can help you determine which is worth investing in to improve your day-to-day operations and your customers' satisfaction.

Options for implementing advanced automation technology
Generally speaking, this next generation of self-service technology breaks down into three distinct groupings: (1) advanced terminals with tie in to ATM switch (2) advanced terminals with core integration and (3) video ITMs. You can think of advanced terminals with core integration as the "whole enchilada," as they provide a wide assortment of transactions moving well beyond the ATM switch. Furthermore, all activities performed by a financial institution's customers are processed in real time, making this option most efficient. Most importantly, the machines are designed to encourage "self-service first." User friendly features that are often likened to a large iPad ensure that consumers are capable of doing much on their own. Human interaction can therefore be offered only as-needed or better yet reserved for deepening the brand connection and creating an avenue for expanded FI services. 

The limitations of ITM technology
The third is video ITMs, which are non-integrated. Video ITMs, as their title implies, utilize video conferencing technology so tellers can communicate with customers electronically, often from an offsite location. The problem with this medium, however, is efficiency. In order to complete a transaction – any transaction, as it happens – the video teller must provide the assistance. This leaves a lot of room for error and potential for complicating factors, like system downtime.

When you think about it, a video ITM provides the same services customers get from an in-person teller – just through a screen. More a call center mentality than a true automation, this version doesn't require core integration and it is notable that every transaction involves a teller to perform the transactions themselves on a separate terminal, in the same way the tellers in the branch do today. This is a very inefficient application of technology.

Advanced automation undoubtedly represents the future of retail banking and serve as the change agents that balance both traditional financial services as well as the contemporary. Understanding what technologies deliver – and how they differ – can help you determine when or whether to add these to your fleet.

For more information on ITMs and mapping out a game plan for branch transformation, turn to BranchServ. We'll serve you the best way we know how.