Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Super ATM

From Emergic(and NYT). Convenience stores in the US are becoming more than just stores.

Automated teller machines have long been a staple in these stores, but now several major chains are installing kiosks that are able to do a lot more. Way ahead of the curve is 7-Eleven, which is introducing its second wave of custom-made terminals called Vcom's this year. Often referred to as A.T.M.'s on steroids, the more than 1,000 Vcom's dispense cash, sell Verizon services, handle bill payments and let customers send money to other people.

Here we have EasyBill promoted by the Hero group (a group also known for Hero Honda), but thats not an ATM, just lets you pay bills of many services. Then we have bank ATMs which are rapidly becoming more than just ATMs where one can offer charity, pay for mobile recharges. These two services can see a fair amount of integration over the coming few years and no bank has yet exploited this space though banks offer online bill payment services. I think we will see a Super ATM shortly.


Steve Portigal said...

I thought that NYT piece was curious and thought about blogging myself, but frankly couldn't come to a conclusion, but here were my thoughts
- there's no mention (if I recall) of the presence of similar devices/services in other countries like Japan (as one example) where the ubiquitious convenience stores play a huge role of managing daily lives
- the image of the redesigned ATM was horrible - it was just the ugiliest "undesigned" think I had ever seen - yuck!
- the use of the term "unbanked" to describe people who don't use traditional banking services - I hadn't encountered that term before and it's kinda grim - reminds me of another term I recently came across "unchurched" - it's a presumptive bit of rhetoric
- the article seemed sloppy in the way they nabbed people at random around the stores to either say good or bad things about these new services - I realize this is how most journalism is going to work, but something about the way they described their process was just very awkward and almost embarassing

Neelakantan said...

I actually did not read the NYT piece. But in India there are Bill Payment services that do this a bit differently - essentially low tech service. And then of course, there are ATMS which are now becoming financial kiosks. I thought there can definitely be a synergy across these two services unless there is a disruptor.It is obviously a big big challenge, getting it to work across multiple languages, billers and so on.The mobile phone is a device that can actually undermine both these services - possible disruptor.