As ATMs on large bank networks increasingly use mobile phones for account access — a trend driven in part by mobile banking — non-bank ATM operators are working to enable the same features to attract mobile-savvy cash users.

Genmega, a Haywood, Calif.-based ATM maker that has about 150,000 machines deployed globally, is currently upgrading its ATMs to include mobile technology and NFC readers, and new machines that come out in 2018 will be equipped with NFC.

"That is where we see the ATM tech going," said Wes Dunn, senior vice president of sales for Genmega. "We're doing NFC in Asia already, so it's not an entirely new technology for us."

As cash use declines, cash machines have been adding digital features to stay relevant. The pace of bank adoption of digital ATMs is accelerating, as Bank of America has upgraded about 8,000 ATMs in a year to accommodate mobile access; Wells Fargo has migrated a substantial portion of its ATM fleet; and Barclays is updating its machines.

In new research on ATMs, Mercator Advisory Group found the growing popularity of mobile banking can be a catalyst for mobile ATM access, allowing the banks to recapture the cash distribution that's lost through cash-back features at the point of sale.

For the broader ATM industry, this will create a general appetite for mobile ATMs to serve persistent cash needs. Mercator found 21% of consumers spend more than $20 in cash per week, while another 21% spend more than $50 and 18% spend more than $100. These figures are mostly steady year over year, suggesting long-term demand for both cash and a good mobile-driven user experience at ATMs.

"ATM owners are looking to add new features to their devices," said Zil Bareisis, a senior analyst at Celent, noting the Bank of America upgrade will allow consumers to access ATM services tapping smartphones equipped with Apple Pay, Android Pay and other wallets. "This is also one way to enable cardless cash withdrawals, a functionality that's increasingly getting more attention for the issuers."

For ATM providers, that has been consolidation, such as Diebold's acquisition of Wincor Nixdorf. Genmega, which serves mostly independent ATM deployers and operates in a market with Triton, Hyosung and Hantle, is considering how consumer use of mobile technology melds with ATMs to serve its machines, which as independent ATMs are mostly located in convenience stores, bars, restaurants and supermarkets.

Genmega found that similar to shopping, people are currently using mobile apps more than NFC wallets.

"We're supporting the mobile ATM apps that are out there now, like Paydiant," Dunn said. "These are not necessarily people using ATM readers, but they are using mobile apps."

Genmega is also upgrading technology for its self-service machines, which are also at the fore of chip card and mobile technology support. It has built a website for clients that use the company's kiosks, such as Club Control Systems, which automates club access and Genesis Coin, a bitcoin ATM. The site is designed to update as new mobile features and value-adds become available for kiosks.

"Automated kiosks are becoming more prevalent, at order or checkout," Dunn said, adding there's not a lot of information available on new technology for self-service kiosks. "There may be someone who wants to update to help waitresses in clubs get their order faster and serve faster. This is a way for them to be aware of the kind of technology that's out there."

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