2 trends to watch in the ATM market

Bitcoin ATMs and security solutions are becoming increasingly dominate in the ATM space.

Recently I attended the ATMIA conference, held from Feb. 8 to 10 in Orlando, Florida. This event draws together many companies in the ATM and financial services space to network and learn more about industry issues. On both the show floor and at various sessions, two trends jumped out at me that I believe you should keep an eye on if you are involved in any way in the ATM space.

First, it was hard not to notice the sheer number of Bitcoin ATM companies at the conference, or the number of companies that were showcasing some type of cryptocurrency solution. Like it or not, Bitcoin ATMs are making huge waves in the industry and will likely continue to do so in the near future.

The reasons for the growth of Bitcoin ATMs are multifaceted, but what it really comes down to is the growth of bitcoin in the mainstream, as more people are jumping into some form of crypto investing. Bitcoin ATMs provide an easy way for people to get into the cryptocurrency market, as customers can simply put cash into the machine, scan their wallet’s QR code and get the bitcoin fairly quickly.

As a result of the Bitcoin ATM’s explosive growth, the traditional ATM industry has begun to embrace this industry as well. For example, Mike Lee, CEO of ATMIA, said at a session that traditional ATMs can partner with Bitcoin ATMs since both are primarily cash-based machines.

Secondly, I noticed a lot of solutions and sessions around the topic of security and how operators can handle growing threats as well as provide customer-friendly security solutions.

Many companies for example were showcasing contactless solutions for ATMs, which would allow customers to type in the PIN number on a virtual keyboard, without having to touch a keypad directly.

On the prevention level, speakers addressed various tactics to handle security threats, such as physical attacks and jackpotting attacks.

While previously, the focus was on how to stop these attacks, one session addressed the need to prevent the attacks before they happened.

Paul Nicholls, director of business development for Oberthur Cash Protection said ATMs should utilize intelligent banknote neutralization systems, which can automatically ink banknotes when the ATM detects an explosion or some other type of attacks.

This type of system can perform many tasks, for example it can fire before an explosion hits the ATM. With traditional passive BNS systems, it only fires after the explosion occurs and in many times, the die just goes out on the ground.

Nicholls said this system is “indelible, clean and traceable.” Also, this system prevents the criminal from using the banknotes at a different cash acceptor or recycler.

This type of protection can also include tools such as alarms that warn robbers messing with the ATM that the ink will fire soon, thus ruining any potential gains.

These of course were only a few trends that I noticed at the event, which I will discuss in more detail in future blogs.

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