ING’s Ultra-ATM Finder Android App Uses Augmented Reality (AR)

image While working my way through the RSS backlog tonight,
I found a post from Rob Findley at The Bank Channel, I wish I’d seen a week ago. It would have made a nice example in our latest Online Banking Report on the iPhone and other mobile applications

image Last month, Dutch giant ING released a Google Android mobile application called ING Wegwijzer (see translated page below), that goes one step beyond the iPhone’s GPS-enabled ATM finder apps.

In the ING (Netherlands) version, you have three choices of how to view the nearest ATMs (see below):

  • List
  • Map (regular or satellite)
  • Camera

The camera option is very cutting edge. Users point the camera in their G1 mobile phone camera (inset) and the app overlays a pointer to the nearest ATM (see below). The application works for all ATMs, ING-owned and others, but only in The Netherlands. 

The application was developed for ING by SprxMobile using technology from Australia’s Austria’s Mobilizy.

I saw a Japanese startup demonstrate a broader mobile shopping app at TechCrunch50 last September, the Sekai camera from Tonchidot, but this is the first production app I’ve seen using the technology.

Bottom line: This is probably overkill in terms of a mobile ATM finder. However, it shows the power and versatility that’s rapidly being engineered into mobile phones.   

ATM location as pointed out by ING app running in camera viewfinder


ATM locations also displayed via typical mapping

image       image

ING landing page for the Wegwijzer (link) (Google translation, 18 March 2009)


Wells Fargo Extends Hours via ATM Deposit Capture

Wells Fargo explanation of remote ATM deposit capture No matter how comfortable and convenient your branches are, forcing customers to rush to the branch to cash a check before closing time is not helping cement the relationship. And it leaves you vulnerable to competitors with longer hours or branches that are closer to your customer. And extending hours into the evening and weekend may be great for the customer, but its tough on the bottom line. 

That's what makes Wells Fargo's latest move doubly smart. Because deposit/check-capture ATMs automate the check cashing process, the main reason customers visit a branch late in the day, the machines can serve almost like a virtual branch for many users.

So Wells Fargo is leveraging its so-called "Envelope-free" ATM network to provide what amounts to extended branch hours, providing same-day credit for checks deposited in its Envelope-free ATMs to 7 PM. By adding three hours to what was a 4 PM cut-off, the bank instantly has a network of 1200 extended-hour locations (see Note 1) for a fraction of the cost of keeping branches open an extra 10 to 15 hours per week.  

As remote deposit capture becomes a key selling point for banks, we expect deposit cutoff times to disappear altogether, just as many bill payment systems now allow payments to be initiated up to midnight for same-day processing. 


  1. The bank announced Tuesday that it will be expanding its network of envelope-free check capture ATMs to 1200, from the current 400 (see press release here). The Wells Fargo Envelope-free page is here.

A Year’s Worth of Fake ATM Receipts for $15

Fake ATM receipt example CLICK TO ENLARGEFor something completely off-topic, here's a niche service that couldn't have existed prior to the Internet.

Four-year-old Custom (screenshot below, link here) will create a year's worth of personalized fake ATM receipts. For $15 + $1.50 shipping, with payment via PayPal, you receive 52 ATM slips printed on thermal paper and dated every Friday for a year. 

The receipt includes your name, the last four digits of your account number, a withdrawal amount and closing balance of your choosing. The example shown on its homepage shows a balance of $629,112.23 with a paltry withdrawal of $60 (see inset above). They ought to up that to at least 3 Benjamins for credibility.

At $15 per order, the site operator won't get rich, but it's a clever idea and hopefully all in good fun. In an email exchange with the owner, who prefers to remain anonymous, he said that he previously offered to produce any personalized receipt. Intended to be used as a joke, he shut down the service after receiving numerous requests for items obviously intended to defraud employers or insurance companies. 

Custom Receipts fake ATM generator

Check-Scanning ATMs to Receive 15 Minutes of Fame

Bofa_atmWondering what to call your remote deposit-capture service? Just wait a few months and Bank of America will solve that problem for you. The bank, and its $175 million advertising budget (see NetBanker May 17), is on the verge of making check-scanning ATMs a household name.

According to last week's Wall Street Journal (May 8), "The Envelope-Free ATM," BofA will use television to trumpet the new feature as it rolls out 1700 next-generation ATMs by the end of the year. Bank of America has an ATM base of 15,000.

As you recall, the last time BofA used its advertising budget to push a new high-tech feature, free bill pay, in 2002, it set off a chain reaction that has resulted in bill payment being free at most U.S. financial institutions.

We expect the BofA advertising to be the beginning of mass adoption of check scanning at ATMs, self-service teller-assisted stations in branches, and for business customers, in-home/office devices.

Today there are only about 4000 check-scanning ATMs in the United States compared to 396,000 conventional machines, so it will be years before there is a critical mass of the new machines. TowerGroup predicts that 25% of the 200,000 bank-owned machines will feature check imaging in 2010 (see chart below).


Financial institutions of all sizes should accelerate their plans to harness the technology. As the branch network is downsized, this is one of the ways the impact on consumers will be minimized. The extra $10,000 to $15,000 per ATM expense is relatively insignificant considering the labor savings from the device. TowerGroup estimates a 75% decrease in processing costs to just $0.40 per item compared to $1.70 for checks deposited with a teller or by means of an envelope dropped into an ATM. That means the breakeven is often less than 10,000 deposited items per machine, assuming the bank is able to reduce back-office or branch labor. This does not include the expected lower fraud costs.

However, this particular technology is more about customer satisfaction than cost reductions. Customers will love this system once they understand it. Not only is there instant feedback with an image of the deposited items, users also get the peace of mind of being able to access the image through their online bank system. Yet, another way that online banking adds value to the relationship.