With reduced hand contact becoming the norm in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, banks are set to deploy contactless ATMs. A prototype has been developed by payments company AGS Transact Technologies, which uses the bank’s mobile app to interface with the machine after scanning a QR code on the screen.
Traditionally, the ATM has been using a magnetic stripe card for identification of the account holder and the PIN for authorisation. To use the contactless ATM, the customer has to use the bank’s smartphone app to scan a QR code on the screen and enter the amount and ATM PIN in his mobile and collect the cash without touching the machine.
AGS Transact, which manages 70,000 ATMs for banks, is in the process of implementing this contactless solution for two banks. It is also in discussions with four more. While the changes are related to software, implementation could take up to eight weeks, given that banks have multiple service providers for mobile banking, ATM operations and maintenance of their ATM switch.
AGS Transact CTO Mahesh Patel said that the QR code-based withdrawal is safer than using a card as it eliminates the risk of cards being skimmed. He said that it is also faster and the maximum time taken during tests has been 25 seconds. “The application can be integrated within the existing mobile banking app of each bank,” he said.
While large banks like State Bank of India and ICICI Bank have developed cardless withdrawal apps using the smartphone, these pre-COVID-19 applications do require engagement with the ATM. These are generally for transactions on the banks’ own network of ATMs.
AGS Transact had developed a QR-based cardless withdrawal system, which was launched by Bank of India. The earlier application required the use of the ATM keypad, while the new one is completely contactless. “Our new Touchless ATM solution is an extension of the flagship QR Cash solution, which ensures the safety of the users and will provide a seamless cash withdrawal experience with enhanced security. With minimum investment, the banks can enable this solution for their ATM networks by upgrading the existing software,” said AGS Transact chairman and MD Ravi Goyal.