Those cash dispensers that have been cropping up in convenience stores and supermarkets in the last two years could be turning into the banking industry's latest non-bank nightmare.
At least that's one conclusion that can be drawn from some recent forecasts by Mentis Corp., a Salisbury, MD, market research firm. By the end of 1995, non-financial firms will have 18% of the installed base of automated teller machines. Mentis projects. At the end of 1994, they had only 13%.
Essentially, the two non-financial firms with the largest ATM networks - EDS Corp. and Affiliated Computer Services Inc. - are both positioned to use their ATMs, which are now almost solely devoted to dispensing cash, as launching pads for offering a wide array of services.
One area where they could encroach upon banks' domain is by offering electronic bill payment at their terminals, and that type of service is being developed.
But executives from both firms say they are not interested in becoming banks outright.
"One could define us as an electronic bank, but we're not a depository institution and we don't intend to be," says Tommy Rouse, executive vice resident for ACS.