Absa, South Africa’s largest retail bank by customer numbers, today announced that cash deposits at its Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have recorded an astonishing 223% year-on-year growth, between January 2011 and January 2012. This follows the release of the banking group’s results that reported a 21% increase in headline earnings for the year ended 31 December 2011.
“Rising usage of our bulk note Cash Accepting ATMs, of which there are now nearly 400 around the country, reveals an interesting trend in customer behaviour,” says Absa’s Head of Retail Markets, Arrie Rautenbach.
“We are now seeing an average of 170 000 people depositing cash into these machines every month.”
Absa embarked on its journey towards installing Cash Acceptor ATMs with a pilot across 52 terminals as early as December 2009. In 2010, a further 112 were installed, followed by 221 in 2011. The growth in cash deposits at these terminals was driven largely by the convenience they offer, the fact that they provide real-time “clearance” into the depositor’s account, and their ease of use.
The bulk note Cash Accepting ATMs receive the notes which are deposited directly from the customer and process the value of the deposit so that the funds are immediately available in the depositor’s account.
Absa’s Cash Accepting ATMs are steadily being enhanced to include a functionality known as “Scan ‘n Pay”. This functionality allows customers to scan bar-coded invoices from certain pre-registered service providers (such as telecoms companies, utilities, TV licences, etc) at the Cash Accepting ATM, and instantly pay these accounts.
Absa customers can pay directly from their accounts or by using the cardless function. Customers of other banks will also be able to use Absa Cash Accepting ATMs to deposit the funds required to pay the above-mentioned accounts.
Rautenbach explains that the ATM is evolving to such an extent that it will no longer be a simple cash dispenser. “As we bring new devices into the market, and begin to replace some of our older ATMs, we will increase the network of Cash Acceptor ATMs. In time, this new Scan ‘n Pay functionality will become standard across the entire network.”
Absa aims to add at least another 400 Cash Accepting ATMs to the market in 2012.
“Customers can now receive loans, purchase airtime and make CashSend money transfer payments to any cellphone number from Absa ATMs,” he states, adding that Absa will continually seek to innovate with new products and services in order to provide customers with a richer suite of offerings.
The bank has been actively investing in IT infrastructure and expansion, and has made substantial improvement in management and business processes, aiming at a solid and sustainable growth in digital revenues for the future.
“As we continue to enhance our IT infrastructure, we will see a greater shift in customer behaviour away from traditional forms of banking. Constant innovation will change the face of banking in our country,” concludes Rautenbach.