The ATM sector is hot at the moment, with a number of interesting developments taking place across the world. DoCoMo's plan to integrate mobile phones and ATMs aims to capitalize upon the high levels of usage of mobile technologies in Japan. Japan may well be a test case for the rest of the world.
Since 50 million Japanese consumers already use their mobile phones for financial services, picturing messaging, direction finding, networked games, it seems that using a mobile phone at an ATM won't be particularly alien to Japanese consumers.
IY Bank, a unit of a Japanese retailer will jointly launch the new ATM phone-case service, in partnership with DoCoMo, sometime in the next year. It will allow users with high-speed handsets to deposit and withdraw cash and to store account information on a chip in their phone handset. IY Bank is in the process of expanding its ATM network across Japan and hopes to have around 5,000 ATMs installed by the end of March 2003.
The new service being offered by IY Bank and DoCoMo is one of a number of developments in the ATM space. Other developments include audio-enablement to boost ATM accessibility to individuals who can't read an ATM screen-display and web-enablement to provide a wider range of banking and eBanking services via an ATM. ATMs are also increasingly being seen as a new financial and non-financial services distribution media. Hence, a number of ATM providers around the world have begun to dispense tickets, vouchers, stamps and phone cards from their machines.
The new ATM phone-cash service as well as other developments in the ATM space may well take off in a country like Japan where consumers have an affinity towards new technology and a liking of the use of mobile phones for non-voice related uses. However, it is questionable whether developments will be successful elsewhere in the world, where individuals may be unable to view ATMs as anything other than a simple, easy to use source of cash.
Related research: Datamonitor, "Off-site and enhanced functionality ATMs" (BFFS0175)
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