People have gotten so accustomed to convenience at automated teller machines that they do not like to be bothered to go inside a bank to use them, a recent survey found.

Drive-up ATMs — which do not require people to get out of their cars — and ATMs installed in the outer walls of banks — which do not require people to enter the lobby — are the most popular, according to the telephone survey of 1,000 people with household incomes of $15,000 or more by Synergistics Research Corp. of Atlanta. About 29% of those contacted said they liked drive-up ATMs best, and another 29% preferred walk-up ATMs. Fifteen percent said they preferred ATMs away from bank premises, most often mentioning retail stores as their preferred ATM sites.

The two least popular categories, each preferred by 13%, were ATMs inside bank lobbies and those in other places on bank premises.

“Since they were first introduced, drive-ups have always been very popular locations,” said Genie Driskill, a senior vice president of research at Synergistics.

Respondents cited various reasons for their preferences: convenience to home or office, speed of the machine, whether a surcharge was imposed.

The survey also found that 60% of respondents said they use ATMs regularly and 40% said they do not. This was a big improvement from 1986, Ms. Driskill said, when 41% said they used ATMs regularly.

“Consumers view ATMs as cash dispensers,” Ms. Driskill said. With the advent of payment vehicles such as debit cards, which work at the point of sale, “there are a number of alternatives available to them to conduct financial activities,” she said, so ATM use has flattened.

About 75% of those who use ATMs regularly said they also use debit cards for retail purchases. About half of these people said they sometimes get cash back at the point of sale.

Among those who rely on ATMs, 70% said they do not use tellers very often. Among the 40% who said they do not rely on ATMs, 73% said they liked the human contact of going to a teller, and 50% said they think there is less chance of error if they use a teller instead of a machine.

Aside from getting cash, Ms. Driskill said, people liked being able to print out account statements at ATMs. Other financial applications were seldom used, she said. They include services available at some ATMs, such as ordering checks, making loan payments, buying traveler’s checks, entering stop payments, recording a change of address, cashing checks to the penny, paying bills, applying for loans, and opening accounts.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.