ATM numbers to increase with 40% over next five years (sad news)

In a recent report by consulting firm RBR, they predict that the number of ATMs installed will increase by 40% until 2018 (from 2.6M to 3.7M). The cash volume withdrawn from the machines will increase by an even higher number, with 65% compared to today.

The increase is to be driven by Asia Pacific (especially China), the Middle East and Africa. Also strong growth will be seen in central and eastern Europe and in Latin America.

I think this is sad news and that it is an indication that the infrastructure to support card payments (POS) doesn’t match development. It is still costly for merchants to take card payments, high fixed monthly for the terminal and contract and a high interchange fee.

At the same time consumers prefer to use their cards to withdrawn cash and this results in high costs for society (print, distribute, transport, handling, environmental, etc. + higher risk).

Better to use/promote solutions that creates a new channel for card users and minimize use of cash, like all cards in one wallet, and for use in all payment situations. Issuers will gain getting a new channel where they can influence bying behaviour adding offers, promotions, loyalty, etc. Acquirers will get more transactions and new consumer intelligence for creating value beyond transactions for their merchants and hereby make acceptance of card more valuable. On top a cost effective software based mPOS (non-hardware dependent) could be offered to increase the usage of cards at merchants (the long tail).

All should target to decrease the use of cash. 

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