As ATM operators consider upgrades, security is a priority, but not the top priority.
Cash replenishment and deposit collections cost a lot, and operators are most welcoming of any function that reduces such a labor-intensive process.
"Things like cash delivery and picking up checks can get exceedingly expensive, and so many new technologies will likely address driving those costs down," says Bryan Bauer, president of Kahuna ATM Solutions in Bloomington, Ill.
Security improvements are the next highest priority driving ATM innovation, according to Jim Block, director of advanced technology at the ATM maker Diebold Inc.
The North Canton, Ohio, company is developing ways to use a third channel, such as a mobile phone, to verify the identity of a person withdrawing cash. That added step could prevent fraudsters from successfully using counterfeit or stolen cards, Block says.
Reducing operating costs is one of the "overarching" motivators driving innovation in ATMs right now, Block says.
"Adding technology to an ATM is really like any other business decision," he says. "You have to look at what it will cost you and what kind of payback you can expect."
ATM operators are also considering upgrades to the display screens, such as with 3D holographic displays. Itutec SA, an ATM maker in Sao Paulo, Brazil demonstrated such a display earlier this year at the Ciab Febraban 2011 trade show. Its touchless interface provides better security than a standard keypad, the company says.
But holographic images at ATMs may not be used in the U.S. anytime soon, largely because of their high price tag.
"When it comes to holographic displays, well, that is very unlikely. As in, it's not going to happen" because no business case exists to include that kind of display on an ATM, says Paul Race, vice president of marketing and communications at the ATM and kiosk maker NCR Corp. of Duluth, Ga.
"When we are thinking deployment, we are thinking 'what should we do,' not just 'what could we do,' " Race says. "Just because we can doesn't mean we should."