CME FCU First To Install 'No Envelope' Scanning ATM

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Seeking a new way for members to make deposits at any time without getting out of their cars or even using an envelope, CME FCU here is among the first to introduce NCR's new Personas 90e ATM, which features "no envelope" scanning and "bunch-note" acceptance for cash.

The new machine provides a printed receipt showing an image of the check and a breakdown of dollar bills by denomination. The company says the advantage lies in credit unions saving money on labor while members get unlimited access to deposit services.

CME FCU CEO Jim Riederer, who has led the $173-million credit union for five years, said CMEFCU has been a long-time user of NCR's machines and wasn't concerened about introducing new technology. He noted that typically with ATM deposits, two employees are needed to retrieve and verify the deposits. One employee removes the check and the other verifies the check and amount for accountability. "We took those two people out of deposits," he said.

With anywhere from 200 to 400 checks being deposited by envelope on a "payday" Thursday or Friday alone, CME FCU is expecting substantial savings by eliminating envelopes. Riederer said CME will determine the new ATM's ROI as they further develop the program.

The Personas 90e provides members with a printed receipt proving their deposit has posted to their account. Riederer credited NCR's ATM with clear, concise instructions that have made the transition very easy for CME and its members. He said there have been no member complaints since the machine was put into service. Seeking to head off any member problems at the pass, the credit union posted employees near the ATM to help with deposits or questions.

"We had people out there at the ATM for a couple of weeks and it wasn't needed," he said. "The members have been very adaptive to it."

At present, CME FCU is the only credit union in the nation to have a drive up ATM with the "no envelope" technology.

How The ATM Works

Here's how it works: a member drives up to the ATM any time they desire and start to feed cash and checks into the machine. The check is scanned, front and back, using MICR technology and posted to the member's account per Check 21 standards. The member can then place up to 40 bills of any denomination in the bunch-note slot and the ATM will read the bills and display them by denomination. The bills don't need to be "faced" or grouped by amount, such as all five-dollar bills followed by 10-dollar bills.

If a member deposited four $50 bills and the ATM recognized only three, it would show a tally of $150 for a cash deposit and return one $50 bill. The member then agrees with the ATM's results or not, and has the option to get the cash back.

For example, if a bill is too crumpled or faded, the ATM will reject it just like a jukebox or change machine. The ATM won't accept any foreign currency or the odd traveler's check for that matter, according to NCR Director of Industry Marketing Rob Evans. "It's pretty slick technology," Evans said. "It works really well."

Evans said NCR research showed, on average, members would deposit one check and between six to eight different bills.

As for counterfeit checks or other illegal schemes, Evans said the Personas 90e recognizes the magnetic ink but also reads the check number as it records the image of the check. Evans said one of the more common methods of fraud for any financial institution is an unscrupulous customer or member who places an empty envelope into an ATM, claims the bank or CU lost it, and then wants reimbursement. As the new ATM is processing the check itself, that scam can't happen with the Personas 90e, he said.

"It will be impossible to place an empty envelope; the check is the envelope," Evans said.

Members then get a printed receipt with their cash tally and an image of the check-front. The back of the check is scanned for a signature and recorded, but not printed on the receipt.

Evans said the Personas 90e was designed to be a free-standing ATM that wouldn't change the footprint of any existing CU. CUs that want to test the drive-up and test the no-envelope technology can order a machine with basic ATM functions and upgrade as needed.

Evans said the price of each Personas90e varies with desired features, but prices start at $40,000. CUs concerned about cutting costs won't be taking a chance on a "harebrained idea," according to Evans. The ATM is not cutting edge technology, but a new combination of existing and proven technology that ensures a service life of 10 to 12 years for a CU, he said. "You plug it in and it runs," Evans said.

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