Bank ATM Innovations?

by Jon Davis 20. April 2008 21:57

When I moved to Scottsdale, I was introduced to automated check-out counters, where I scan my items in, including produce, then pay with my card, and then I leave, no human interaction required. (Someone is always watching, though, 4 counters at a time.)

But I was just blown away today by my bank's ATM machine (at Chase Bank). Very seldom do ATM machines impress me. Bank ATMs are usually 5 to 10, sometimes 20 years behind the times when it comes to technology. Usually banks just give their machines facelifts--prettier graphics, crisper displays, and a few more words and details on the displays. But apparently over the last few weeks my bank replaced their ATM machine with a "new and improved" machine that, frankly, raises the bar about five notches.

Even Smarter Than A Human Teller

I rarely deposit checks, but when I did, I used to kinda cheat. I'd fill out the deposit slip, leaving the checking account number blank (because I didn't know it, and I didn't have a blank checkbook anywhere handy when going to the bank), and then I'd stuff it in the envelope and stuff it into the ATM. I'd always hear some dot matrix printer pounding something out on the envelope, so I always figured it printed my account number on the envelope. The deposits would always clear when I deposted this way, even though soon after I started doing this I started seeing a big sign (which I ignored) taped up above the ATM saying, "To minimize the chances of delays processing your deposit, please include your checking account number with your deposit." I actually didn't care about delays. And when I go in in person, they have no problem with looking up the checking account number themselves (using my ATM card).

Well today, apparently the bank figured out how to deal with troublemakers like me. They used technology.

I inserted my card, and they said, "Insert your check(s) into the slot. You can stack up to 20 checks at a time." Wha?! Insert my check(s)?! No deposit slip?? No envelope?! I stuck my check into the slot and it sucked it in. (It rejected it at first, but I had it in backwards.)

The machine then proceeded to scan my check, OCR'd the value of the check, displayed the scanned image to me, and asked me if it determined the value correctly! There was the check I just deposited, looking right back at me on the screen, with "Please confirm that the value of this check is $__, YES/NO".

As if to add a cherry on top of my sundae, when I was finished, it printed the scanned image of the check onto my receipt!!

If banks keep this up, they just might make banking funner than my deposits' value.

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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
 
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of jondavis.net have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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