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The ATM: Still a core banking touchpoint with the consumer

How the untapped potential for cost optimization will lead to an evolution of ATM operating models.


The results of the third round of the 2016 global ATM Benchmarking Study reinforce the central position the ATM occupies in today’s omni-channel banking environment. 

The results also reveal that there is still a long way to go to reach optimization in operating this powerful self-service technology. This report sketches the current global ATM landscape before delving deep into the vast range of metrics the study has developed since its inception. The report set out to provide fresh insights into the performance, cost and profitability structure of ATM estates of participants.

 A comparison of the results of three separate ATM surveys between 2011 and 2016 shows the evolving trends in our industry across the most important metrics of ATM operational performance. This new study reveals that there are several ongoing inconsistencies in the way the ATM industry manages its costs. There is still considerable opportunity for improving cost efficiencies across the ATM operational lifecycle. In a time when the costs of compliance and of migrating to new operating systems continue to pose a challenge, cost optimization in the ATM industry has become nothing less than a competitive necessity.
ATMs are central for access to cash... and the banking experience. In some markets their role has evolved... to be a channel complementary to branch, mobile and internet banking.

ATM Benchmarking Study 2016 and Industry Report



ATMIA, in partnership with selected consultancies, collected statistics from 43 global ATM operators. The value of such insights is especially important as ATMs are core to branch modernization within an omni-channel banking concept, and a core access-to-cash channel in financial inclusion initiatives. The analysis delves deeper into the main topical areas:

  • Cost and profitability dynamics: The study found that only a small portion of ATM operators are running their business profitably. From a banking perspective, the ATM channel is still very much run as a lower cost option to bank tellers. The industry is proving once again to have an untapped potential for cost optimization.

  • Increased ATM functionality: Based on the data collected, the working hypothesis is that ATMs will evolve into a different, built-for-purpose array of value propositions that will be targeted to the provision of a defined and numerically limited range of services.  

  • ATM crime and fraud management: Fraud and crime are having an impact on the industry, not only in terms of losses, but also of increased effort from ATM operators investing capital and resources aimed at preventing fraud. Collected data highlights an increase in fraud investigation costs varying from 30 percent to 53 percent throughout the sample of participants, regardless of their size.
Fraud poses a significant challenge to the industry and increasing investment and effort is required to address it.


After nearly 50 years in existence, the ATM channel is proving to have retained its central role as a core banking touchpoint with the consumer.

  1. The ATM remains a core channel, complementing internet and
    mobile banking.
  2. The ATM channel holds an unexploited potential for cost optimization and profitability enhancement.
  3. The selectivity of ATM functionality appears as a focus of ATM operators on a well-defined range of services.

ATMs are still central to the banking industry in a complementary role to the more recently introduced electronics payment facility. ATMIA and Accenture believe that the ATM will retain its importance for banks and consumers alike in the foreseeable future, but also that the untapped potential for cost optimization and revenue generation will lead, in the medium term, to an evolution of ATM operating models.