With ATM and kiosk vendors investigating the potential for supporting transactions such as mobile phone top-up, bill payment and check cashing, convergence is becoming a buzzword in both industries. Apart from the payment-enabling opportunities this trend creates for payment solution providers, convergence is evident in the hardware and feature functionality spaces. With 93 per cent of ATM transactions known to involve cash dispensing and balance inquiries, ATM vendors are investigating additional functions such as recirculation bill acceptors, which accept cash or cards and return change to the customer if required.
Kiosk vendors are said to launch more innovative new services, while ATM vendors appear to prefer the adaptation of existing products or services in favor of introducing entirely new functions. 7-Eleven’s Vcom kiosks are the earliest example of a converged ATM-kiosk and over 1,000 have been deployed, although transaction volumes are not published. Payment solutions provider Cyphermint also offers a 24-hour, self-serve kiosk with ATM functions, the PayCash One-Stop, and has contracted American Payment Services (APS) to supply cash- or card-based bill payment services at these and Cyphermint’s other retail kiosks.
Some insiders argue that retailers may install ATMs and kiosks side by side on their premises to attract new revenue streams and drive foot traffic, but the reality is that convenience or other stores with limited floor space may prefer a single ATM-kiosk terminal. Retailers seeking to draw underbanked customers into their stores could for example deploy ATM or kiosk-based bill-payment and check cashing-enabled devices as a way to achieve new revenue streams and increase sales. If such ATMs were PC-based, as current trends indicate, additional functionality can be built into the machine with minimal effort.