By Allen Kopelman
Nationwide Payment Systems
The National ATM Council met in Hollywood, Fla., at the Hard Rock Hotel, and it was a jam-packed conference with educational information, great speakers, presentations and exhibitors. Being in the credit card business and also in the ATM business since 2001, I have a distinct take on ATMs.
My colleagues and I are primarily consultants who have a broad understanding of business, including what businesses need now and in the future. Most of the ATM operators are not in the credit card business; most credit card guys don’t do ATMs. They are very different from one another and not easy to understand.
I host the B2B Vault: The Payment Technology Podcast, and the focus is to provide educational information about payment technology to business owners. In each episode we talk about how a product is good for consumers and good for business owners. In the discussions, we try to explain things, such as the ATM business, in a way people can understand without getting overly technical.
NAC 2022 showcased how ATMs are morphing into kiosks that will provide a host of new services for consumers to access. As banks are closing branches, the need for full-service ATM-kiosks is critical, especially in impoverished communities where the ATM and the corner store often serve as the closest thing to a bank.
The conference began with Bruce Renard, president of NAC, welcoming the huge crowd and talking about NAC’s mission to help the ATM deployment community have a voice in Washington, D.C., deal with legal and banking issues, and more.
In the next conference segment, Hyosung, Triton/ATM Gurus and Genmega, the three top ATM and kiosk manufacturers, presented eye-opening information about the future of the ATM-kiosk business. They showcased new hardware, software and services that will be available to us in the near future.
Adding services to the ATM is always a good thing. It’s similar to switching a merchant from a credit card machine or cash register to a POS system. Some of the functions ATMs now enable include dispensing cash, buying bitcoin/cryptocurrency, doing cardless transactions, making donations and buying gift cards.
Coming soon will be the sidecar, a small machine on the side that can accept bills so ATM customers can pay a bill, place a bet (in states where it is legal), cash a check, recycle cash, break bills, and much more. The ATM is being reinvented before our eyes. ATMs are becoming financial kiosks.
The NAC 2022 exhibit hall was packed with vendors including ATM ISOs; equipment manufactures; software and security system companies; ATM repair and lock services; wallet, cardless solution and cash providers; armored car companies; and more.
One compelling booth belonged to Jar Tracker, which has an affordable security device that can be installed into an ATM to add extra protection in high-risk locations.
An ATM combined with a Jukebox also caught my eye. A joint venture between Legacy Coin-Operated Distributors and Venco Business Solutions, the patent-pending Harmoney music and money machine brings together a TouchTunes Fusion Jukebox and the Genmega Onyx-W ATM.
Kiosks found in every manufacturer's booth showcased a host of new services coming to the ATM soon. Bitcoin was also popular. Several companies displayed options for adding bitcoin to your current ATM, as well as redeeming bitcoin at ATMs. Sidecars and free-standing ATM-kiosks were also on display.
Another development I noticed was companies offering ATM loading services. With this, you place an ATM at a location and a company provides an armored car service to load the machine for you.
In addition, companies talked about remote ATM management or remote ATM monitoring. This is a time-saving tool, as you can monitor your ATM’s activity in real time using a wireless box, as well as perform remote maintenance activities without having to drive to the machine. With the elevated price of gas, this also helps the budget. You can also update the ATM software with this service and add additional services to the ATM easily.
I also conversed with Pocketbook CEO Bryan Crumpler, who explained that consumers can download the pocketbook app and then get money from an ATM by loading various non-bank services where they have cash. Traditionally, they would have to request an ACH and wait for those funds to reach their bank account. Now they can get money from an ATM using the app. PayPal, Venmo and other financial services apps are included. Several large ATM deployment companies are adding this to their software.
The first speaker on day two of NAC 2022 was Representative John Rose, R-Tenn., who is on the House Financial Services Committee. Some topics he brought up were The Payments Choice Act of 2022, which requires cash acceptance at business nationwide (which he said is supported by both parties), ending the remnants of Operation Choke Point, and banking for ATM operators, including and making rules so banks can not refuse to bank ATM operators. I also asked him about Durbin 2.0, and he was not sure it could really pass in its current format.
David Lott and Dr Scarlett Heinbuch from the Atlanta Federal Reserve spoke about the latest U.S. cash trends, spending trends, the digital dollar, and the pressing need to make sure cash remains a payment option for consumers, which the Fed is behind.
Marvin Bowers, vice president of retail sales for Hyosung America, spoke about the technology that is transforming ATMs into full-service financial centers. It’s a bold new world out there for the ATM business in addition to businesses where ATMs are located.
Alicia Moore, head of North America ATM product for Visa, spoke about the latest updates for PCI compliance, requirements and timing, and “cashless ATM” enforcement. She also spoke about the new push for universal deposit acceptance for retail ATMs, which would enable ATMs to accept deposits for any bank.
Breakout sessions at the show covered a variety of topics, including NAC government affairs advocacy, cashless ATMs, The Payments Choice Act 2022, legislation to extend federal bank robbery laws to protect retail ATMs—including users, servicers and loaders—and banking services for America’s independent ATM operators (regulators are on board; it’s time for banks to step up). Many businesses that have ATMs have trouble maintaining bank accounts that receive ATM deposits; as long as governing rules and regulations are followed, banks should not discriminate.
Further topics explored included U.S. digital currency—how will it happen, how long will it take, and how will digital currency coexist with cash?; the latest federal cannabis banking legalization developments (ATM company reps told me armored cars will soon have clearance to load machines at dispensaries under certain rules); current ATM/payments industry enforcement efforts to address unlawful "cashless ATMs," including deployments in cannabis locations (I heard two cashless ATM networks were shut down recently by the bank that was servicing the machines).
The show was full of educational opportunities, important business updates, and information from top executives, companies and government agencies.
Allen Kopelman, a serial entrepreneur, is co-founder and CEO of Nationwide Payment Systems Inc. and host of B2B Vault: The Payment Technology podcast. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/allenkopelman/ and Twitter @AllenKopelman.
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