Taiwan’s financial regulator: ATMs won’t disappear, they’ll just become smarter

Taiwan has been pushing toward cashless payments. However, its financial regulator reassured citizens on Tuesday, that despite those efforts, ATMs will not disappear from the self-governing island claimed by China. Instead, they will evolve over time, adopting more intelligent features.

ATMs and the ability to access cash remain a key element of people’s lives, Chairman Wellington Koo of the Financial Supervisory Commission, Taiwan’s top banking and market regulator told CNU, according to a report in Taiwan News.

Koo’s comment follows those by Premier and Appacus Foundation Chairman Sean Chen, who believes the high density of ATMs on the island stand in the way of Taiwan’s efforts to promote cashless payments.

Taiwan, with its population of 24 million, reportedly has the highest density of ATMs in the world, with a total of more than 30,000 machines, according to the Financial Supervisory Commission.

Koo envisions a future where ATMs replace more of the functions of a traditional bank teller, according to the report. He pointed to interactive teller machines, which allow consumers to engage in deeper, more personalized banking activities with remote tellers, as one example.

Cash machines have been slowly disappearing from Taiwan. Singapore’s DBS bank recently announced that it is eliminating its 40 ATMs in Taiwan by early next year.

According to London-based research and consulting firm RBR, despite the push toward cashless payment methods, cash is still a popular means of payment in most countries.

In October, Natalie Ceeney, chair of Access to Cash Review, an independent report that looks at the need for cash across the U.K., warned of the dangers of what happens when a country’s cash infrastructure erodes too far.