NCR Corp. says it has deployed 10,000 envelope-free ATMs with U.S. financial institutions since 1998. Based on financial institutions' acceptance rate of the "intelligent-deposit" ATMs, the Dayton, Ohio-based manufacturer boldly predicts the end is near for traditional ATMs that accept envelope deposits. "The days of licking envelopes at the ATM are soon over," Michael O'Laughlin, vice president and general manager of NCR Financial Services Solutions, said in a statement. Retail Banking Research Ltd., a London-based strategic–marketing firm, agrees ATMs that accept envelopes will be museum pieces by 2019. Intelligent-deposit ATMs enable customers to deposit banknotes directly into their acceptance slots. The ATM counts the banknotes, displaying the denomination of each on the screen for the bank customer to see. Once the customer approves the display, the ATM deposits the cash. They also read and display checks. NCR first deployed intelligent-deposit ATMs with its Personas line, but the company has gained traction with its SelfServ line introduced in January 2008. Gil Luria, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles, says some banks are purchasing intelligent-deposit ATMs because of their improved capabilities and cost savings. When banks first rolled them out, the machines accepted either one banknote or one check at a time. Now the machines accept multiple checks and banknotes at one time, he says. The machines also provide a persuasive return on investment, Luria says. "Envelope-free ATMs save banks $1.50 to $2 per transaction because bank employees do not have open envelopes, they don't have to scan checks, and there are fewer armored-car pickups," he says. So far, the market for intelligent-deposit ATMs has appealed primarily to the nation's three-largest banks–Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Large credit unions, such as Boeing Employees' Credit Union in Tukwila, Wash., also are deploying the machines. Regional banks, however, are not showing much interest, Luria says.  "By in large, they are dipping their toes in the water with a few pilots," he says.

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