U.S. ATM Count Hits Half-Million Mark

U.S. ATM Count Hits Half-Million Mark
August 11, 2017 Marketing GrafWebCUSO

The number of ATMs in the United States has grown to between 475,000 and 500,000, according to new data out this week from the ATM Industry Association. 

The trade group reported that the financial services industry has been adding more terminals after years of dealing with a struggling American economy, as well as the challenges of Windows upgrades and EMV migration. The data suggests that about 16% of the world’s ATMs are in the United States. 

“These numbers confirm what we have suspected in recent months,” ATMIA U.S. Executive Director David Tente said. “There is growing recognition of the important role that ATMs play in our payments system, and alongside of it, in a new wave of branch transformation that is sweeping through the banking industry.” 

ATMIA said “tens of thousands” of independent ATMs now offer person-to-person (P2P) money transfer capabilities, and many financial institutions are deploying ATMs that use contactless technology so that customers can pre-stage their cash withdrawals and perform other transactions.

“And new bank branches are more likely to be smaller and depend more substantially on the use of advanced function ATM terminals,” the report added.

ATMIA said it expects the app-based platforms increasingly built into ATM platforms to drive growth and fuel a new generation of ATMs that offer better user experiences, more security and more interoperability. 

Though much of the world is turning to cards and mobile wallets to buy things, the ATM industry still has legs — a full 85% of all retail payment transactions are still done with cash, according to a white paper from Mastercard.

In addition, a study by ATMIA and consulting firm Accenture predicted that more ATM growth is coming. 

“The installed base of ATM machines is growing with an estimated 3.2 million units installed in 2014, up by 12.4% compound annual growth rate from the 2.0 million units in operation in 2010. The numbers are projected to grow to over 3.5 million by 2020,” it reported. 

A report from ATM Marketplace and Italian software provider Auriga this year, which surveyed more than 300 ATM industry members and more than 1,000 ATM end-users in the United States and the United Kingdom, found 63% of U.S. respondents used an ATM at least once a month.

Consumers want ATMs to do a lot more for them, though, according to the report:

  • 70% said they want ATMs to offer cash in denominations other than just $20 bills
  • 39% want real-time transactions from their ATMs
  • 34% want biometric identification to replace PIN entry
  • 32% want to be able to cash checks at an ATM
  • 19% said they want bill pay

“Even though the technology is available, there needs to be a major change of mind-set within many banks about the greater role that ATMs can play in improving customer experience and services,” Auriga Chief Marketing Officer Antonella Comes said. “The current position tends to be too rigidly fixed on offering a limited set of services and reducing operating cost.” 

Consumers don’t seem to want ATMs to do everything for them, though. Ticket sales, complex transaction functions, charitable donation abilities, prepaid card offerings or even contactless cash withdrawal were on the wish list for fewer than 10% of the respondents. Also, more people said they prefer nearby ATMs to nearby branches, almost two-thirds also said they’d rather go to a branch than use a drive-up video ATM with a remote teller.

Data breaches are also weighing heavily on how consumers use ATMs, according to the research. More than a third (36%) said they plan to use cash more if data breaches continue or get worse.