I think one of my favorite scenes from any sitcom comes from season 7 of The Big Bang Theory. In the episode titled The Decision Amalgamation, Sheldon finds himself torn between two gaming systems: PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. He and Amy go to Best Buy to pick up an Xbox, but he finds himself second-guessing his decision and recalling all of his previous failed technology buying decisions. He ultimately leaves empty-handed, unable to make a decision before the store closes. Here at Equips, we understand how difficult equipment buying decisions can be. Your branch can’t be everywhere at once, which is why you need technology to fill in the gaps. But what kind? Do I need ATMs or ITMs? Follow this article to find the right solution for your bank or credit union.

What is an ATM?

I assume that if you are reading this blog, you are familiar with ATMs. But for the sake of this article, I will provide a brief explanation. An ATM is an Automatic Teller Machine, a banking terminal that both dispenses cash and accepts deposits. In short, it is a machine capable of making basic bank transactions that do not require the assistance of a teller.

What is an ITM?

An ITM is an Interactive Teller Machine. It has become sort of a buzzword around the banking industry since they were introduced in 2012. ITM machines give banks the power to have a teller anywhere they would have an ATM machine—grocery stores, gas stations, hotel lobbies—you name it. An ITM machine can be thought of as a “branch in a box”. With a familiar interface, similar to that of a traditional ATM machine, ITMs give customers the ability to interact with a customer service representative in real-time while making transactions. This can be done via both audio and video, depending on how the machine is set up.

ITMs are great for both financial institutions and customers. On one hand, FIs are able to expand their reach beyond their physical branch locations. Now, they can be anywhere their customers are, whenever they need them. For the customers, they no longer have to visit a branch to do their banking activities. Furthermore, if they run into any issues with their transactions, they can quickly get support from a team member, which greatly increases customer satisfaction.

ARTICLE: Upgrading to Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs)

Should I Buy an ATMs or ITMs for My Branch?

There are three things you should consider as you decide between purchasing ATMs or ITMs for your branch. First, how large is your budget? Furthermore, how many terminals do you need? If you have a smaller budget and need many terminals, an ATM fleet might be the way to go. The average ATM costs roughly between $35,000 and $65,000. An ITM, on the other hand, has a median price of $85,000. The difference in price probably doesn’t seem that significant until you factor in employee training (estimated $150,000) and software (estimated $200,000) needed to run on the ITM network.

The second thing you should consider is the value an advanced technology would bring to your branch. How quickly will each device pay for itself? For small community banks, it costs a teller an average of $4.05 to complete a transaction. ITM transactions cost an average of $2.40, and $1.25 for an ATM. These costs drop as the volume of transactions increases—national banks typically have lower average transaction costs. Some banks have gone as far as to replace their team of bank tellers with ITMs inside their branches. In case customers are having trouble, or need support, they keep one teller on site for assistance.

The third and final thing to consider when deciding between ATMs and ITMs is how new technology will change customer behavior. For example, if your branch values face-to-face interactions with customers, you might want to purchase ITMs that allow for teller assist. If you are trying to change the customer behavior to self-service, you might want to consider a core integrated ITM.

Do you still have questions or need expert consultation? Be sure to send us a message. We have an awesome team of Solutions Advisors that can help you find equipment quotes and provide unbiased recommendations. Thanks for reading!

FREE DOWNLOAD: Obsolete ATM Product Guide & Recommendations

About Equips

Equips is revolutionizing how Banks and Credit Unions manage, maintain, and protect critical branch equipment. Leveraging a network of 500+ vendors, experts at Equips help Financial Institutions respond to equipment problems quickly in one place: Equips. Active management allows Financial Institutions of all sizes to improve operational efficiency, cut costs, and streamline equipment inventory and vendor management. Our groundbreaking solution provides clients across 45 states with better insight and transparency into their critical equipment and enables employees to do their best work. To learn more visit equips.com.

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