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Friday Features: Mobile Order-ahead Cash


The so-called cardless ATM has been around for awhile. I remember seeing one at the Wincor Nixdorf booth at BAI Retail Delivery four or five years ago. I thought it was a good idea at the time, but not something that would change my behavior. I mean, how hard is it to swipe your card and type in a PIN at an ATM?

But I’ve done a 180 and now think it will be a standard and widely used mobile banking feature (at least until we get cash out of widespread use). Two recent events changed my thinking:

1. I began using Starbucks mobile ordering. When I first heard about the pilot, I thought it would be useful for busy urban locations, especially Manhattan. But since we rarely have a line at Starbucks in our neighborhood, I didn’t expect it to change my behavior. But I was wrong and find myself addicted to it (the mobile ordering, not necessarily the coffee). When we were in San Jose earlier this month, I kept reaching for my phone to order ahead, forgetting it hasn’t rolled out nationwide yet. And it was a bit annoying. It’s just a better consumer experience to order from your saved transaction list, rather than reciting the whole thing at the counter.

2. FIS SVP Doug Brown gave me a live demo at a functional ATM of their Cardless Cash Access solution shown at Finovate two weeks ago (FIS demo video here). As with Starbucks mobile order, a small, yet noticeable, improvement in user experience can be detected. Privacy is improved, control is better, and login is easier. But the most important benefit is improved security. Instead of feeling vulnerable fumbling with a wallet or handbag at a machine, you just swoop in, scan the barcode, and the money spits out. FIS data from the Wintrust pilot showed that time at the ATM was reduced from 40+ seconds to 8 or 9 seconds (does not include the time it takes on the mobile app to order the cash). And as a nice side benefit, cardless access also removes the whole issue of ATM skimming.


Other than in the Chicago area (FIS clients BMO Harris and Wintrust), cardless ATMs are not in widespread use in the United States. Some major rollouts around the world include:

But when it does come a bank in my neighborhood, count me in. In the meantime, it’s time to fire up the Starbucks app and order another Americano.


Other mobile ATM demos at Finovate:
1. FIS first teased cardless cash access in a joint mobile-wallet demo with Paydiant, now part of Paypal, at FinovateSpring 2013 (video here; cash-access piece begins at 5:41).
2. PrivatBank launched a mobile-access-only ATM at FinovateSpring in 2014 (video here).