ATMIA’s David Tente talks the future of cash

Podcast Summary

Is the use of cash in the decline these days? As the debate continues, the fact remains: cash is still very much with us, whether as a convenient option for small, everyday purchases or as a vital method of payment for everything from groceries to rent.

In this ATM Marketplace podcast, host Suzanne Cluckey talks to David Tente, ATMIA’s executive director, U.S.A. and Americas, to get his thoughts on the future of cash and what it means for the ATM industry.

“The state of cash is pretty much the way it’s been for a long time,” Tente said in the podcast. “In the U.S., of course, it is a different situation than it is in many other countries.”

In the U.S. cash is still most heavily used by the unbanked and underbanked, he said. “Unfortunately, that often means people who are poor and in the minority.” Roughly 26% of the population in the U.S. still rely on cash for the majority of their transactions, he said.

“It is still very prevalent out there, and we don’t see that there’s going to be too much change in that in the near future,” he noted.

Tente agrees that there is a subtle war on cash going on, and that there is a lot of talk about the decline in cash becoming more rapid in upcoming years.

“Many have kind of translated that into a potential decline in the number of ATMs as well,” he added.

Yet, while he believes the decline in the number of ATM cash withdrawals will continue, the value of those transactions is increasing, he said. In other words, consumers may be visiting ATMs less often, but they are withdrawing larger sums of money.

“We may see that slight decline, but the value of those transactions, on average will probably continue to increase a bit.”

What are people using instead of cash? Mainly, credit cards, but debit cards and checks are hanging in there as popular forms of payment, too, he said.

Right now, ATMIA is working on an initiative it calls “Next Gen ATMs.” As Tente explained, the whole idea is to turn the ATM into an app-based machine.

“What we expect to see in the future is a lot of additional apps on the ATM that are actually going to connect cash through the ATM to a lot of different kinds of transactions than they’re able to connect to today.”