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The ATM is Evolving, Here’s How to Make the Most of It

The ATM is evolving, which lets banking customers take care of many transactions themselves. Find out everything you can do with new ATM technology.

November 24, 2021

The first Automated Teller Machine (ATM) debuted at a Barclays bank in London in 1967. Two years later, the United States installed its first ATM at a Chemical Bank branch in Rockville Center, New York. Since then, new ATM technology has expanded significantly and taken over many of the duties of a traditional bank teller. 

ATM innovations are still advancing rapidly and there are many new developments unfolding everyday. And as ATM transaction trends continue to shift, more features will likely arise. Here’s what to know about new ATM technology to make the best of these improvements.

Types of new ATM technology

ATM technology is constantly evolving. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular new features and types of ATMs.

Bitcoin ATM

Instead of letting you take out cash from an account, Bitcoin ATMs let you buy or sell Bitcoin — a form of cryptocurrency — using cash. Purchases made on Bitcoin ATMs are secure, fast and require minimal identification information.

In many cases, all you need to do is deposit your cash, select what you’d like to buy or sell and scan the code to your digital wallet, which stores your crypto assets. 

These ATMs are helpful if you want to deposit money into your digital wallet quickly, but the fees can be significant. For example, buying fees are usually around 7% in the United States and can reach as high as 33%.

That makes Bitcoin ATMs convenient if you’re looking to invest cash, don’t have a bank account or want extra security, but buying your cryptocurrency online can help you keep costs down.

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Cardless ATM

Have you ever lost your debit card and needed cash while you were stuck waiting for a replacement? If so, you’ll appreciate the development of cardless ATM withdrawals. With cardless ATMs, you can complete your banking transactions without having to use your debit card.

Cardless ATMs use the following types of technology to replace the need for a card:

  • Near Field Communication: This lets you open your bank’s mobile app and hold your phone up to the ATM to initiate your transaction. Once the ATM verifies your info, you can complete your transaction like you would with a card.

  • QR Code: With this method, you open up your bank’s mobile app, select the transaction you’d like to make and the app will generate a QR code for you to scan at the ATM. It’s the same technology restaurants frequently use for touchless menus.

  • App-Generated Verification Code: With this method, you’ll receive a one-time code from your banking app and enter it with your PIN to start making transactions.

You can find cardless ATMs at many Chase, Capital One, Bank of America and Wells Fargo branches, although the activation process will differ slightly from bank to bank. There are typically instructions inside your bank’s mobile app or on their website.

Virtual ATMs

Virtual ATMs are another type of cardless ATM. They let you enter a transaction from your phone ahead of time. After doing so, your bank’s mobile app will generate a code that you can take to the ATM and scan. Scanning the code will complete the transaction.

Video ATM (VTM)

Video ATMs — also known as interactive teller machines — are a great option when you need the assistance of a live teller but prefer the convenience of an ATM.

They function a lot like traditional ATMs, letting you make deposits, initiate withdrawals and check your account balance. The fundamental distinction is that you can also communicate with a teller through video to get an answer to a question or complete a more nuanced transaction.

How to make the best of ATM evolutions

ATMs have long since replaced several of the functions bank tellers performed in the past. That makes it a lot easier for you to take care of day-to-day transactions like making deposits and withdrawing cash without having to wait in line for help.

The latest developments in technology have expanded the ways you can use ATMs even further, letting you conduct more sophisticated transactions like trading cryptocurrency or withdrawing cash without a debit card.

While these ATM developments can make your life easier in many ways, the corresponding fees can present a significant drawback. Seventy-five percent of Americans will “do anything” to avoid ATM surcharge fees, and rightly so. They’re generally an unnecessary waste of money.

To make the best of ATM evolutions, it’s important to minimize transaction fees as much as possible. Here are some steps you can take to avoid incurring charges:

  • Stay in-network: Your bank typically won’t charge you for transactions at one of their ATMs, so avoid resorting to ATMs that are out of their network if you can.

  • Limit transactions: Making multiple transactions at the ATM each month increases the likelihood that you’ll use an expensive one or trigger repeated fees. See if you can take care of everything in one intentional visit per month.

  • Research your options: If you’re going to use a more advanced ATM like a Bitcoin ATM, study their prices well in advance. That way, you can avoid going for the nearest option and accidentally losing a third of your money on fees.

Ultimately, making the best of modern ATMs comes down to planning ahead and doing your due diligence. It’s usually only when you let yourself get caught by surprise that you end up paying unnecessary fees for ATM privileges.

On a final note, you can pay your credit card bills at an ATM, but it would be much more convenient to do it remotely. With Tally†, you can potentially manage all of your payments from a single mobile app.

†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. Based on your credit history, the APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% - 29.99% per year. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.