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Contrary to some expectations that the latest technology would disrupt the ATM industry, banks in the Charlotte area are growing their ATM user base, so maybe we don't count ATMs out just yet. Local managers point out that their customers continue to choose the ATM because the machines are multi-located, easily accessible and open 24 hours.

Striving to match consumers' experience in the self-service environment of web-based retail, banks are responding by changing functionality of ATMs to DIY. Late last year, PNC Bank located newly designed ATMs inside its branches. The new ATMs make it possible to deposit up to 50 bills and 30 checks in the machine sans envelope besides letting users withdraw bills in increments of $1 and $10 bills. Check-cashing capability is available for current PNC account holders.

Wells Fargo differentiates its ATM service by offering credit card holders an option to redeem points earned on cards for cash from Wells Fargo ATMs. Other customers might choose to deposit points into a Wells Fargo account or use points to pay down a loan. Wells Fargo has seen an annual increase in ATM patronage in the last five years.

Responding to the growth of Spanish-speaking consumers, Bank of America is deploying new ATMs where customers can access a call center-based teller via a video screen and converse in Spanish or English. Check cashing for the exact amount is an additional enhancement. Nationwide there are now more than 580 of the new ATMs which in some cases, have replaced tellers in their new Express Center branches.

Not all banks express the enthusiasm of the early adopters. In fact banks hesitate, pointing out that more ATM amenities will lead to long lines and delayed transactions, a scene deplored by today’s impatient consumer.

Nevertheless, despite the influx of technology disrupters such as Apple Pay and fewer customers entering bank branches, it appears that many spenders still transact with cash. And, when banks design ATMs to make accessing cash convenient, how can they resist?

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