6/26/2020

Interactive Teller Machines: Facts and Benefits

Understanding Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs)  |  Complete Overview

Article written by Equips
June 2020

What is an ITM?

An Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) is compared to an ATM but add a video terminal option. The video allows users to speak with a teller on a screen. ITMs provides convenience for the customer that a teller normally gives as an in-branch experience but through the screen. “Interactive Teller Machine is a device for customers to perform banking transactions while interacting with tellers located at other mini branches nationwide via video conferencing,” from BSN.

“The video teller can guide you through every step of your transaction and answer questions about your account,” from Gorham Savings Bank. That includes discussing loans applications, credit options, payment deferrals, and accessing other critical services that may be unavailable to navigate on a touchscreen.

Different names for Interactive Teller Machine (ITMs):

  • Personal Teller Machine (PTM)
  • Automated Interactive Teller (AIT)
  • Teller Assist Unit (TAU)
  • Video Teller Machine (VTM)
  • In-Line Teller (ILT)

Why would a financial institution purchase an Interactive Teller Machine?

An Interactive Teller Machine (ITMs) can function as a self service ATM machine for cash withdrawals and deposits, but it can truly go above and beyond. ITMs can offer more transaction options than traditional ATMs. An Interactive Teller Machine user has the ability to virtually transact business through these units with and (sometimes) without your staff.  You may need an employee to be available to speak with the user; however, this individual does not need to be located at the same branch the unit is located.

Interactive Teller Machine transactions cost far less per transaction than an in-person teller transaction. Instead of having staff stand at a traditional teller station waiting for customers/members to enter the building or come through the drive thru to be helped, the employee can reside in a different city and can even be available to work multiple Interactive Teller Machines, not just one. This convenience could allow for job sharing, employee location flexibility, and longer hours for your financial institution.

Interactive Teller Machines also allow for staff to have additional interaction with customers, which can certainly be revenue generating. The time the machine spends dispensing the cash – completing a transaction or withdrawal – the employee would have for cross sales and general customer service. No more breaking eye contact to look down to count the cash!

There are far more marketing opportunities with Interactive Teller Machines when compared to traditional ATMs or with no technology at all. They can have additional monitors to display advertising, an offer, or something that may be personalized to a specific customer. The branding and customization is all to be carefully considered when deploying Interactive Teller Machines, as you don’t want to miss this valuable opportunity.

Interactive Teller Machines not only dispense cash and deposit checks as a traditional ATM can, but they can also cash a check down to the penny, perform card-less transactions, make loan payments, open a new account, transfer money between accounts, order replacement cards and so much more. With a core integration, many of these transactions can also be done without any assistance, giving you more time to dedicate to other aspects of your business.

This technology is also excellent for your business customers/members. Interactive Teller Machines allow a commercial customer the freedom to send an employee to make a business deposit without having to have a card/PIN or an account number. The virtual teller can look them up based on the financial institution’s rules and proceed with the transaction.

In a time when we are more sensitive than ever to the health and safety of our employees, Interactive Teller Machines can be a great draw to working for your financial institution. Interactive Teller Machines allow your employees the freedom to do their best work without having to physically touch the currency. Financial institutions with Interactive Teller Machines often report that their tellers experience less sick time and typically have a higher job satisfaction level. Not to mention that they are no longer in contact with cash and whatever risk they may perceive that to be. Interactive Teller Machines are more accurate than traditional teller lines, as these units are 99.99% accurate when dispensing cash, depositing checks, etc. and they reduce the teller time to reconcile their “drawer.”

Interactive Teller Machines tend to have a smaller footprint than teller lines or pods, which can reduce the size of a physical branch while also reducing the number of staff. As we are currently experiencing, ITMs are gaining in popularity due to social distancing, yet still providing essential functions for customers.

People are more apt to use self-service units. We see these in grocery stores and have experienced this with ATMs within the financial industry for many years. Banking as with retail environments have moved to assisted self-service and online products, so people are becoming more and more open to this concept.

Interactive Teller Machines have been shown to improve staff productivity. Staff can assist members at multiple locations, and when not working through an Interactive Teller Machine, that employee can be working on other back office functions. ITMs also improve productivity simply by being faster and more efficient than some of the current technology. These units can process multiple checks and stack of bills at the same time, usually with fewer issues than an ATM.


Reasons why a financial institution would purchase an Interactive Teller Machines:

  • Convenience
  • Solve the problem of having to man the drive thru and have extended hours.
  • Still have the personal touch and building relationships
  • Can have the unit work 24 hours a day – ATM and speak to a teller – more options to what serve their needs for them at this time.
  • Get wait times down
  • Lead to cross sales
  • Increase transaction volumes
  • Referrals
  • Save members/customer money
  • Build this around technology platform
  • Build relationships
  • Cash checks down to the penny
  • Make loan payment
  • Account questions
  • Privacy – private area, phone, headphones, private message
  • Safety – harder to steal from a machine
  • Shorter lines – no more counting money back because the machines do that part
  • It’s fun and easy to use
  • Can be located on maps when people search “ITM machine near me”
  • Cardless ATM option
  • Digital Teller availability
  • ITM risk assessment reports

 

Advantages of Interactive Teller Machine:

  • Cost Savings – 75% of transactions at teller line can be performed by remote teller
  • Growth Opportunities – Reassign branch employees to higher-level business development tasks
  • Innovative Advantage – Extended Hours of service for Core Transactions
  • Increased Convenience – Strategic placement to serve targeted member/customer base (colleges, hospitals, etc.)
  • Operational Efficiency – Replacement of old drive-up equipment
  • Sustained Market Strategy – Leave behind strategy with branch closures
  • Increased Market Strategy – Small footprint compared to traditional brick and mortar
  • Expand Geography, Hours of Service – “FIs can most cost-effectively expand their geographic footprint as well as hours of service.” – Advanced Fraud Solutions
  • Maximize Staffing Resources – Integrating ITMs can free up your team members and help bring FIs to scale.
  • Gain Efficiencies – “one video teller can serve multiple members simultaneously — and the convenience of extended hours.” – CreditUnion.com
  • Enterprise Teller Systems – “combines real-time connectivity with a depth of offline capabilities to overcome the risks of previous web-based teller applications.” – Finextra

There are so many reasons why an Interactive Teller Machines could be the next best investment you make for your business. With Equips, we can not only help you get this equipment into your institution, but if you ever have a question or issue with your equipment, we’re there for you always. Our experts will be there in an instant if you need us, and our online system makes it easy to submit all maintenance requests all in one place. Let Equips help you boost your business with a new ITM!


Interactive Teller Machines – What are the different types?

There are three main manufacturers of Interactive Teller Machines in the United States: Nautilus Hyosung, NCR, and Diebold Nixdorf. There are a few other lesser-known manufacturers that exist but are not widely adopted based on the time it took them to get to market or the sophistication of their software.

When Nautilus Hyosung first introduced their product line, they sold their Interactive Teller Machines with an integration solution as well as offering the virtual, or video, teller solution. The key with core integration is that the consumer can now complete their banking transactions when it is convenient for them, any time of day or night. Nautilus Hyosung observed the way consumers interact in a retail environment and went to market with a philosophy of assisted self-service: the idea that customers want to interact mainly when they need help, and otherwise, they want to control their own transaction.

Integrating into the financial institution’s core with the Hyosung ITMs allows users to perform a variety of transactions at the unit without the help of a live person (opening accounts, transferring funds, check cashing, etc.). However, if assistance is needed, they also have the option to connect with a financial institution representative through video. The virtual teller can pick up the transaction, wherever it is in the process, and complete alongside the user. They can also remotely control the Interactive Teller Machine to assist with completing the transaction or verbally assist the user.

NCR had a different approach to Interactive Teller Machines. NCR was first to the market by partnering with a company who specialized in video banking (who they ultimately acquired). This partnership had the benefit of being quick-to-market with the technology needed for a remote teller to control a device, but little was thought of on the integration into the financial institution’s core banking platform. For this reason, NCR discouraged the industry from needing to integrate with the core.

NCR contended that the cost involved with integrating to the core did not outweigh the benefits an institution would realize from the upselling opportunity of a call center with several virtual tellers. After some time, NCR began offering an integration solution due to the demand. They now will dissuade a financial institution from integrating based on the cost and time involved but will integrate if the financial institution presses for this solution.

Click here to read an NCR ITM Case Study.

As noted above, one key difference between the different Interactive Teller Machines on the market are that the Nautilus Hyosung units are able to be integrated with the core of the financial institution at a reasonable price, while NCR and Diebold Nixdorf are not. This absence of a core integration requires the virtual teller to enter the transaction in two different systems (dual-keying) at the time of transaction. One transaction is keyed in the Interactive Teller Machine software, and the other is keyed into the financial institution’s core application. This can add time to the actual transactions and increase the prevalence of human error.

Anyone who has researched Interactive Teller Machines can tell you that they are pricey. There are the costs associated with the machines themselves, which has been commoditized over recent years, and different manufacturers structure their sales to sell directly to financial institutions and others through a channel of VARs. In addition, there are hardware and software considerations, as well as integration (if available), and a call-center or remote staff must be equipped if there is video enablement.

Nautilus Hyosung and NCR Interactive Teller Machines can be serviced by the OEM or by third party approved vendors. This often results in a competitive situation, allowing the financial institution to have options with service providers and pricing. Diebold IT Machines can only be serviced by Diebold Nixdorf technicians due to their proprietary software. If a financial institution is not happy with Diebold Nixdorf’s service, they often have few-to-no options.

Each manufacturer offers different models of Interactive Teller Machines in an effort to fit any environment. The free-standing drive-up machine is often placed on an island where typically a pneumatic tube system would allow for customer service. Using an Interactive Teller Machine, you can typically provide a quicker transaction and have fewer tellers tend to multiple machines. When placing an Interactive Teller Machine inside, it is recommended to place it in an area accessible to the public after branch hours, allowing the consumer access to banking at any time of day or night. It has been noted that banking transactions are peak between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again from 5 p.m. to late night.  This makes sense when a high percentage of the population works between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., which are typical branch hours for many financial institutions.

Equips is an unbiased, third-party organization who helps financial institutions sort through the various options available and help with a plan for deployment of Interactive Teller Machine technology. We do not sell any of these solutions, though we manage many for our clients and have data and experience working with industry providers. Once you have your equipment, you can manage all equipment maintenance requests in one place and have immediate access to an Equips representative at any time. Let us help you to make data-driven decisions on technology and introduce you to a better way to manage your traditional banking equipment.


Interactive Teller Machines – Service Best Practices

When it comes to servicing your Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) there are many things to take into consideration. Geography, technician density, service hours, machine configuration, and very importantly, servicer’s manufacturer partnerships all will impact the performance and availability of your technology.

Where you are geographically located will drive many factors when it comes to the service of your Interactive Teller Machines. This is challenging, especially for those who are using this technology to expand their footprint into locations that are perhaps a bit off the beaten path. If you are in a major metropolitan area, chances are the manufacturer has some ability to service your machines. However, it is worth noting that there are generally vetted channel partners of large OEMs that can provide the same service, often at a lower price point.

Despite contrary belief, you can often see better service performance from a third-party provider based on their focus and ability to train their staff and stock proper parts inventories. If you are headquartered or have remote Interactive Teller Machines that are outside large metropolitan areas, you may have better results in finding one of these third-party providers who can service the machines quickly and effectively.

Along those lines, you will see technician density often correlates to these larger areas. If there are more units to be serviced, there is generally a sufficient number of knowledgeable technicians and relevant parts in that specific region. The number of technicians is crucial to maintaining a fleet of Interactive Teller Machines. If there is only one technician in your area, this will impact your ability to receive timely service and, as a result, perhaps need multiple trips when part replacements are needed.

Have you thought about the hours in which you want your fleet serviced? If you place a service request after normal business hours, are you okay with not seeing the technician until sometime the next day, or if it is on a Saturday, having the unit down until Monday? If it is imperative that your customers have access to the Interactive Teller Machines even when the lobbies are closed, this is something that should be taken into careful consideration.

One of the biggest pieces to the service puzzle is your Interactive Teller Machines configuration. Depending on the make, model, and the moving parts inside of the unit, these areas can significantly increase or decrease your machine’s performance and availability. With certain manufacturers, there may be proprietary components and often software that is crucial for the Interactive Teller Machine to function properly. If the right people do not know about specific components, you may consider having conversations with other service providers while under contract with another. Understanding the machine functionality and the terminology used (whether it be Image Deposit, Enhanced Note Accepting, Cash and Check Insert Module, ITM ready vs ITM and many more) will impact the ability and price to service these machines.

All of these factors should be taken into consideration when identifying a qualified service provider that is going to align well with you and your team. While these factors are extremely important, one thing that is never overlooked is price. Often, we pay for what we assume to be a superior service through a particular OEM or even a third-party provider and the result is not up to your expectation, a technician leaves company for another, or another issue arises that leaves you feeling duped. Knowing and understanding your contract and what exactly you paid for will help when it comes time to consider renewing. There are pros and cons to most providers out there, which can leave you feeling like the grass is greener on the other side. Understand that there are auto renewal provisions built into the vast majority of all contracts along with other verbiage that could leave the financial institution paying more that they had initially intended.

At the end of the day, your research and ability to process what your technology roadmap looks like will help in deciding the service provider for these highly advanced machines. Interactive Teller Machines are the ATM of the future, and with the current pandemic, they will allow many financial institutions the ability to continue safely offering services like withdrawing cash, depositing checks, cashing checks to the penny and even making loan payments.

The key to all of this is that it frees up the time and energy of your staff to focus on the interactions they are having with the customers who need their assistance. This has been shown to grow revenue and increase operational efficiency, not to mention a greater market presence, and as a result, a competitive advantage. If these are the things that are important to your financial institution, then taking the time to dive into your service options can only help in your future investment.

Equips is proud to provide convenient equipment management services that allow you to focus on the aspects of your business that matter most. Our system makes it easy to manage all of your equipment in one place, and if you ever need help, our representatives are there for you. Our experienced team is able to quickly respond to maintenance requests, so you can save time and money on repairs. Contact Equips today to discover how we can send your financial institution to the next level.


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