Once you make a deposit through an envelope-free automated teller machine, you never want to go back to filling out deposit slips and stuffing cash and checks into an envelope. It just takes so much time.

Convenience is one reason why so-called "intelligent" ATMs are a huge hit with consumers and business owners. JPMorgan Chase & Co. operates thousands of the machines and, Brad Nolan, its senior vice president of ATM and cash operations, says that deposits at the new ATMs increased an average of 75 percent in their first 12 months of use.

Depositors also prefer using envelope-free machines to gain faster access to their funds, says Bob Tramantano, the vice president of marketing at NCR Financial Services.

With the old-style ATMs, funds typically aren't posted until a bank employee opens the envelope to count money and verify the checks, which might not be until the next day. The new ones tally money and capture check images, so deposits often post immediately. That's particularly important for a small business that has to pay suppliers and meet payroll.

For banks, the key benefit is lower expenses, says Nicole Sturgill, research director for delivery channels at TowerGroup. JPMorgan Chase likely would have captured the deposits regardless, but as Nolan points out, deposits at a teller cost $1.07, while ATM-based deposits cost just 27 cents.

Though Tramantano says the ATMs are also a competitive advantage,Sturgill thinks it's premature to make that claim. "I'm not hearing that customers are switching to a bank because it has image ATMs," she says.


BankThink is a forum for ideas, commentary and reader feedback. If you have something to say, send an email to alan.kline@sourcemedia.com. for regular updates, click on the BankThink link at us-banker.com.

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