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Going cardless at the ATM catches on

Matt Hamblen | July 25, 2016
Banks are rolling out NFC and other tech at ATMs to work with smartphones

In that spirit, banks see cardless ATMs as an added feature atop a roster of mobile banking services they support in their own custom mobile banking apps.

Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo all have banking apps for smartphones -- many of them first developed years ago -- that support various features such as making payments and check deposits using the phone's camera. They also support popular mobile payment apps like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay by allowing their bank cards to work with those apps.

But there are limits. For example, the Wells Fargo Wallet app has just been updated to support Android phones with NFC, but it does not support the iPhone. However, Wells Fargo does support Apple Pay. The advantages of the new Wells Fargo Wallet for Android include the integrated ability to see the balance on the card being used for an in-store mobile purchase, both before and after the purchase.

Bank of America recently announced its Bank of America Mobile 7.0 update for Android and Apple devices. New features include FICO credit score access and Spanish language support. The app has 20 million mobile users.

Even with such improvements to the Bank of America Mobile app, bank customers still need to carry paper currency or deposit multiple checks at once -- functions its ATMs offer that can now be accessed with a smartphone, said Hari Gopalkrishnan, managing director of client facing platforms technology for Bank of America.

As Bank of America has rolled out NFC capability on ATMs, it has had to tweak the technology and user experience, he said.

"It was test and learn," he said. "With regard to user behavior, people learned you have to wave the phone in a certain way at the ATM. There was user-adoption teething pain. We've come up with better error messaging and we're learning a lot. We're driving awareness and how to actually use it, since people are used to swiping their cards at the ATM."

Eventually, he said, "people will use the ATM just like you expect the printer to work."


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