An ATM at your convenience

ATMs hung on the walls of retail shops and restaurants could be the next innovation in the customer bank terminal world if an NCR innovation called the Easypoint 53 takes off.

ATMs hung on the walls of retail shops and restaurants could be the next innovation in the customer bank terminal world if an NCR innovation called the Easypoint 53 takes off.

“The terminal is so compact it fits neatly on a counter-top between the chocolate crunch and the coffee machine, or whatever the retail outlet is selling,” boasts an NCR briefing on the terminal.

Designed for small spaces, the EasyPoint 53 can also be hung from a wall or positioned on a freestanding pedestal, says NCR – “ideal for locations such as convenience stores, video outlets, restaurants, coffee bars, newsagents and pharmacies.”

It might also appeal to cut-price banks like the “Peoples’ Bank” – especially as the small-town shop provides the space for the terminal and pays rent on it, getting a return from each transaction processed.

Tony Hood, IT specialist at the projected NZ Post-owned bank, says the device "has to be of interest." Its business model "has the attraction of driving costs of cash and servicing back to the retailer," Hood says, "but it does not move us forward to the cashless society that we desire."

A busy terminal could well run at a direct financial profit for the retailer, says Matthew Heap, NCR’s Sydney-based regional programme manager for convenience banking - but it has other benefits such as customer convenience, potentially attacting more trade.

The Easypoint 53 is about the size of a typical shop cash register, Heap says. It has two hoppers for cash, containing 500 notes each, “usually 50s and 20s but they could be any denomination.

“Normally, it would not be filled to capacity, as these ATMs are designed for sites doing low transaction volumes,” he says.

The retailer would refill the machine from cash drawn on the bank, on the same basis as the cash register. The cash float would be no larger than that normally kept in the register, Heap says.

Putting the small machine on the wall does not present an additional security danger, he argues. “The mounting bracket would have the same level of robustness as bolting [the ATM] to the floor. And if it was proposed to be mounted just to, say, a glass panel or Gyprock [Gib-board] then we would strongly recommend they mount it on the floor.

“Standard practice around the world is to empty the cash out of the ATM at the end of trading hours, leave it open in full sight of any potential thieves and leave a sign in the window stating that the ATM has no cash.”

One appeal of the ATM to a merchant is that customers will usually get their cash from the machine when they first enter the store, and possibly spend some of it there, Heap says. With a “cash out” eftpos transaction, the customer gets cash after having made all their purchases.

The Easypoint 53 can also be programmed to print out vouchers redeemable for a discount on goods in the store, and its surfaces can be used for advertising space, he says.

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