KUALA LUMPUR – Cost pressures are driving banks in more countries to consider pooling or sharing of automated teller machines (ATMs), which offers deployers a way of maintaining access to cash while reducing operational costs, said strategic research and consulting firm RBR on March 12, reported Bernama.
According to RBR’s Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2025, several countries are experiencing a prolonged decline in demand for cash, a trend that has been thrown into sharp relief by the growth of e-commerce during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as hygiene concerns around cash handling.
“Nevertheless, banks are keen to continue offering cash services across a wide geographical area, while some governments are keen to guarantee access to cash for all communities,” RBR said in a statement on March 12.
Full ATM pooling involves deployers relinquishing ownership of their ATMs to a single deployer that operates a shared fleet.
“This can significantly reduce the cost to individual banks while enabling them to continue serving customers in locations where relatively low demand would render a branch or multiple bank ATMs uneconomical. This arrangement is well-established in Finland and Sweden, for example,” said RBR.
RBR noted that the three largest banks in the Netherlands were currently in the process of transferring their ATMs to the Geldmaat network.
Geldmaat, founded in 2011 as a jointly-owned cash management subsidiary, has since morphed into a fully-fledged ATM pool.
While Europe is home to many of the established and emerging ATM pools, the study also identifies some notable examples in other regions.
“TecBan, which runs Brazil’s shared ATM network, has taken over most of the country’s previously overlapping off-site ATM estates, significantly improving efficiency and security in the process,” said RBR.
Even in markets without formal ATM pooling arrangements, sharing ATMs through multibank networks was growing, said the firm.
“RBR’s research reveals various approaches across different markets, with many having well-established ATM networks enabling interbank transactions. Some banks also utilise bilateral or multilateral agreements to offer fee-free transactions to each other’s customers,” it added.