Mobile Wallet Media Comments on The Future of ATMs and Mobile/Digital Wallets and Payments: Will You Withdraw Cash or Buy Virtual Currency and Gift Cards?

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With MCX partnering with FIS Global and PULSE partnering with Paydiant, the ATM market is now embracing mobile or cardless ATM transactions. However, Mobile Wallet Media believes the ATM machine may face the same fate as public telephones did when mobile phones were mass adopted, unless they add new services.

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Can the ATM prosper with the advance of the mobile wallet?

In lieu of withdrawing cash, consumers will be offered from ATM’s to purchase digital gift cards and receive a 2-20% bonus value at grocery stores, gas stations, department stores and restaurants.

Today Mobile Wallet Media postulates the potential future transformation of the ATM in keeping pace with the accelerating adoption of mobile/digital payments. As mobile payments and wallets inevitability mature and gain mass adoption within the next 2-3 years, a squeeze play on both cash and the ATM machine will rise to the next level. Of course the ATM has already been under pressure as cash may be easily be withdrawn at any gas or grocery store. There is however much more to this dilemma than just a crunch on cash in favor of digital, mobile payments.

Randy Smith, the Chief Editor of Mobile Wallet Media, states “If the primary goal of the mobile/digital wallets is to replace payment and loyalty cards, cash and coupons to deliver unparalleled convenience, then ATM’s are in trouble. Much like when mobile phone adoption rapidly grew in the 1990’s and 2000’s, the public phone saw its demise. There are still a few public phones out there, it’s just that most people simply don’t see them, because they have no need for them. Likewise, mobile innovation at POS via ipads and tablets has disrupted the stand alone payment terminals and cash registers.”

Mr. Smith continues “If the ATM is to remain relevant it must be reinvented to embrace pushing customers to retail partners. The ATM must become a ‘Financial Services Kiosk’. It must be a bridge to retail customer acquisition and loyalty. This evolution to digital and mobile parallels trends in mobile/digital, payments/wallets.

The ATM industry is now gearing up to enable cardless, mobile transactions. With mobile deposit and cash withdrawal availability at any gas or grocery store, consumers have less reason to visit ATMs. Three ways for ATMs to remain relevant is to offer customers the ability to pay bills, send money and purchase ‘bonus-value digital gift cards’.

In lieu of withdrawing cash from ATMs, consumers will be offered to purchase digital gift cards and receive a 2-20% bonus value at grocery stores, gas stations, department stores and restaurants. A glimpse of the future here is being provided by Marqeta, a startup that manages Facebook’s gift card platform. Bonus-value virtual currency may come in the form of a voucher, thus mirroring daily deals. Banks and owners of retail ATMs may drive/replace revenues by offering such value-added services. Of course these upgrades may be short lived once consumers are offered the same services through their mobile banking app or mobile/digital wallet.”

Does this mean the ‘Gift Card Mall’ will see a big decline as well?

Mr. Smith shares “To some degree, yes, but people still love to give and receive plastic gift cards. However, digital gifting is really taking off and is a very convenient way to give gifts corporately. Marketing campaigns by startups Gyft and Wrapp are using Facebook and social media to reach ten’s of millions and distribute millions of $5 - $10 gift cards. Prepaid virtual cards in the form or $2 - $10 amounts are perceived as more valuable than coupons.”

Read the compete story about the transformation and decline of the ATM and the advance of mobile/digital gift cards and prepaid at Randy will be covering the financial payments industry’s largest event, Money2020, this October 6-10 in Las Vegas.

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