ATM vendor Diebold offers new vision for cash machines

ATM maker Diebold is taking its cues from the consumer technology industry as it seeks to appeal to Gulf customers, with plans for video adverts, custom interfaces and personalised offers for customers.

Advertising spots on ATM waiting screens and personalised interfaces for customers withdrawing cash could be coming to the UAE, according to Diebold.

The Ohio-based company, one of the world's biggest ATM vendors, said it was taking its cues from the consumer technology industry to help give its cash machines more appeal to banks in the Arabian Gulf serving tech-savvy customers.

"We're trying to use the best technologies so the ATM is more and more consumer-friendly," said Xavier Bianne, the company's vice president and general manager for Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Video-enabled ATMs could increase revenue for lenders who sell their advertising space, including video.

Typically, banks tend not to mix advertising with third parties, but the potential of associating an ATM with a sought-after brand could convince some to change their minds as profit growth decelerates, said Mr Bianne.

Other possibilities allow the collection of concert or train tickets from a cash machine or personalised recommendations based on customer recognition from a debit card.

"There's no limit to creativity. The only limit is the queue - we cannot afford to have one person spending 10 minutes at the ATM," he said.

Diebold is attempting to innovate to counteract slowing sales growth worldwide through sales of new models to customers in developed markets and expansion in "underbanked" regions.

Net income fell by 57.7 per cent to US$18 million (Dh66.1m) during the third quarter compared with a year earlier, while sales were flat at $709.9m during the same period.

Markets such as Pakistan and Iraq present the greatest opportunities for ATM sales in the region, said Mr Bianne.

Diebold also expects rapid growth in the Emirates, where a flurry of mall construction and no fewer than 51 banks have provided ample opportunities for sales.

The company expects potential growth for the ATM market of 12to 15 per cent in the UAE, said Mr Bianne.

Announcements of new hotel and mall projects by the Dubai Government are expected to provide greater opportunities.

Despite the increasing shift of banks away from physical branches to online and mobile banking, ATMs could remain relevant by adapting existing technology used elsewhere in the consumer technology space.

"Channels can coexist," said Mr Bianne.

"When the TV came along, people said the radio would disappear, but it's not the case. It's used for other media. It's the same for our industry."