Last week, ATM vendors lashed out over the payment card industry’s “War on Cash” (see story). Are they now retaliating with their own “war on cards?”
Perhaps not, but NCR Corp. plans to eliminate the need for consumers to use their payment cards and PINs when getting cash from ATMs through software that supports withdrawals initiated through mobile devices.
Whether the June 11 announcement from the Duluth, Ga.-based ATM manufacturer represents a technology that could provide financial institutions a less-expensive option to EMV smart card upgrades for their machines remains to be seen.
NCR is discussing its Mobile Cash Withdrawal software with financial institutions to begin pilots as soon as possible to test the software, which accommodates cash withdrawals through 2D barcode scans, an NCR spokesperson tells PaymentsSource.
Consumers will have two ways to access the mobile withdrawal option, he says.
“The feature will be built into the bank’s existing mobile-banking application, or it can be obtained through a separate mobile-application download in the Apple or Android application marketplaces,” the spokesperson adds.
Consumers using any Apple Inc. iOS or Google Inc. Android smartphone or mobile device may use the service to initiate a cash withdrawal at any time or any location, NCR stated in a press release.
The user’s phone’s camera captures an image of the 2D barcode on the ATM screen, which in turn alerts the bank through the software of the ATM location the consumer is using for the withdrawal. The consumer also uses the software to authenticate his bank information and the amount of the withdrawal, the company noted (see demo video).
The bank issues an electronic receipt to the user’s mobile application as part of the process, eliminating the printed-paper receipt and providing an option to archive the receipt for later retrieval, the company added.
Development of a mobile cash-withdrawal option comes as some ATM deployers intend to hold off on EMV smart card upgrades until there is more direction from Visa Inc. regarding liability shifts. But deployers also don’t want to jump into expensive upgrades or new capital-equipment purchases to satisfy an EMV timeline for fear a new technology could create the need for another upgrade, industry observers say (see story).
NCR may be on to something that would help banks at least consider how a mobile option would complement an EMV smart card upgrade because Mobile Cash Withdrawal would require only a software upgrade and no additional hardware such as barcode scanners or Near Field Communication readers.
With all of the various technologies unfolding for ATMs at a time when the U.S. is preparing for EMV smart card conversion, it starts to boil down to how quickly certain technologies can take hold and which payments entity would drive them, Scott Strumello of New York- and London-based Auriemma Consulting Group tells PaymentsSource.
“I think the banks are looking to the NCRs of the world to build the technologies into their ATM machines to help them ultimately determine their expenditures on upgrades,” Strumello says.
The development of the mobile-withdrawal option illustrates how emerging technologies make it difficult for banks to determine how much capital expenditure, and the timing of such an expense, should go into ATM upgrades, Strumello suggests.
However, the mobile-withdrawal software puts the company in a good position as the EMV conversion unfolds, Chris Dell, NCR product director, tells PaymentsSource in an email.
EMV conversion is going “to take some time to deploy,” Dell says. When EMV is deployed in the U.S., it’s going to include NFC or contactless technology, he suggests.
“We are positioning ourselves to support mobile cash withdrawal today with the 2D barcode and in the future with NFC when it gets rolled out with the EMV deployments,” Dell says.
Michael O’Laughlin, senior vice president of NCR Financial Services, also indicated in the company press release that the software development falls in line with other NCR initiatives to accommodate financial transactions in “a mobile world.”
“NCR has been a pioneer in a variety of multichannel environments, from using your phone as an airline boarding pass to depositing checks using your phone,” O’Laughlin said.
The cash-withdrawal software will help financial institutions meet their customers’ expectations in the mobile channel, he added.
NCR views the mobile-withdrawal option as a secure approach to the traditional card-based transaction because no consumer data are stored on the mobile device or within the on-screen barcode.
Using a mobile device eliminates the threat of ATM skimming, the company stated.
NCR plans to make the software part of new ATM platforms later this year and to provide software upgrades for existing machines, the company stated.
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