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5 New Features that are Changing ATM Banking

Simon Zhen

Thanks to today's advancements in technology, consumers are experiencing less of a need to visit a bank branch and speak with a teller or banker in person. One banking technology that has been the subject of multiple technological enhancements is the automated teller machine (ATM).

Here are some of the ATM improvements coming your way:

Email receipts. If you regularly visit ATMs, you are no stranger to receipt-littered ATM lobbies. Some customers take the receipt simply for a quick look at their remaining balance, while others simply expect a receipt as part of the ATM experience. After a brief glance, the receipt ends up in the trash or worse--on the floor.

Banks have developed one solution to address this problem: ATM e-receipts. Citibank and Wells Fargo are two that let customers receive a digital ATM receipt via email--eliminating the use of paper.

Varying bill denominations. For years, most ATMs only dispensed cash in the form of $20 bills. In instances when exact change is needed, the ATM is not very useful. However, banks are recognizing customers want more flexibility when it comes to their cash withdrawals.

As such, Chase and PNC have started to roll out ATMs that are capable of spitting out $1 and $5 bills instead of just $20 bills. In addition to the convenience, being able to withdraw cash in smaller denominations may also mean you won't be taking out more than you need.

Cardless ATM access. Like our wallets and personal identification, our smartphones are always by our side. More and more mobile phone manufacturers are building smartphones with near field communication (NFC) technology, which lets your mobile phone communicate with certain devices within close proximity.

SunTrust Bank plans to introduce such technology at their ATMs so customers can use their NFC-enabled smartphones to access the ATM. One day, our smartphones may replace our ATM and debit cards.

Make credit card or loan payments. You can pay your credit card bill or mortgage through the mail, online banking or a bank teller, yet you've never been able to perform this task through the ATM. It would certainly be another level of convenience that would be much appreciated by many bank customers.

Fortunately, Bank of America plans to offer such capabilities in the near future. As it seems to be a must-have feature among today's consumers, other banks will likely follow suit.

Live teller video conferencing. The original concept of an ATM was to eliminate the need for a human teller to service a customer. However, banks are making ATMs less automated by offering real-time video conferencing with a live teller.

Dollar Bank and Bank of America are among the financial institutions that have begun to introduce upgraded ATMs with access to remote bank associates. These ATMs are able to provide a branch-like level of customer service for extended hours.

Simon Zhen is a columnist and staff writer for MyBankTracker.com, where he covers banking, financial technology and savings rates.

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