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ATMs To Replace Bank Branches

Bank Of America ATM
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
We’ve lived through the life cycle of the VCR and soon even the DVD player. Our grandparents and great-grandparents saw the demise of the milkman and the iceman. But did you ever think we’d live to see a bank you actually walk into go away? Bank branches could become a thing of the past as ATMs are going through a tech revolution. As more and more consumers become tech savvy, so are the automated teller machines.

Some examples: Cardless ATMs are already being rolled out where you instead download the bank’s app to your smartphone, and you can withdraw money through your smart device. It holds the information for up to two hours, and when you get to the physical ATM you use your phone instead of their keypad and it gives you your money in 8 seconds rather than the average 45. You get digital receipts via email. And since you never enter a PIN code on their keypad the smartphone transaction is more secure.

Virtual tellers are being offered by Bank Of America and others. At the push of a button you have a live teller appear on a video screen for assistance. Sure it might be somebody a thousand miles away, maybe it will be a different teller every time, but does that really matter? Does anyone really care for the small talk that goes on in banks anyway?

They say sooner or later advances like this will mean the end of actual bank branches. ATMs now exist where you can withdraw exact amounts down to just $1. And they’ll save your past transactions. With email and electronic communication I always thought the post office, for which my dad worked most of his life, would eventually go away. Now I wonder if banks will win that race across the extinction line.

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