Consumers Warming To Bitcoin ATMs

Consumers aren’t clamoring to see digital currency exchange as a feature in ATMs. No surprise there. But did you know the percentage of consumers who hope to see this capability is in double digits?

The newly-released “ATM Future Trends 2015,” a tri-annual report by ATM Marketplace, an ATM industry organization, offers insights about consumer interest in digital currency. The purpose of the report is to identify future ATM trends. This was the first year the tri-annual report included questions about digital currency.

The respondents included a representative sampling of U.S. consumers based on age, gender, and household income.

What Do the Findings Indicate?

When asked what new capabilities they’d like to see in ATMs, “virtual currency exchange” scored 11 percent out of a field of 10 choices. first bitcoin atm virginiaThis isn’t a huge number. But when you consider there are only 365 digital currency ATMs in the world today, the survey results bode well for this young but growing technology. (The 365 number comes from CoinatmRadar.com, which tracks the placement of digital currency ATMs worldwide.)

Also encouraging is the survey’s finding that younger consumers are more interested in virtual currency exchange capability than other consumers.

“Will bitcoin replace cash? Improbable. Should ATM deployers consider adding bitcoin functionality to their fleet, or alternatively, investing in bitcoin ATMs? Perhaps we’ll have an answer for that by the time we get to the 2018 report,” the report notes.

Asked what new service they’d most like to see at the ATM, virtual currency exchange scored 11 percent. Respondents were asked to select three of 10 choices. Virtual currency exchange ranked last behind the following choices: cash withdrawals in multiple denominations, 64 percent; check cashing at ATM, 44 percent;  real-time transactions (e.g., instant credit to account on deposits), 38 percent; email receipt, 28 percent; bill payment at the ATM, 28 percent; personal preference setup (withdrawal amounts, balance displays), 22 percent; cardless cash withdrawal using mobile app, 19 percent; event ticket sales, 18 percent; prepaid card sales, 18 percent.

The younger the age, however, the more they wanted virtual currency exchange. Virtual currency exchange scored 17 percent among 18 to 24-year-olds, the most of any age group.

By income group, it was the mid-income range – those earning $50,000 to -$75,000 – that want it the most. Virtual currency exchange scored 18 percent among this group.

Men want it more than women – virtual currency exchange scored 15 percent among men and 7 percent among women.

India More Interested in Virtual Currency Exchange

Consumers in India were more interested in virtual currency exchange in ATMs. Among participants in India, virtual currency exchange scored 19 percent. While this number is 8 points higher than for U.S. consumers, virtual currency exchange still trailed the nine other capabilities queried.

Asked what new service they’d like to see, the  percent of younger consumers who’d like to see virtual currency exchange at ATMs is somewhat higher in India – 20 percent compared to 17 percent in the U.S.

In India, 26 percent of 25 to 35-year olds would like to see it, as would 22 percent of 35-to45-year-olds. These numbers are also higher than for those age groups in the U.S.

The gender gap was much lower in India. Virtual currency exchange scored 19 percent among women and 18 percent among men.

Asked what are the top threats facing ATMs, only 5 percent said virtual currency, making it one of the least serious threats to ATMs. Government regulations, cost of ownership, mobile banking, security/fraud/data breaches and “other” issues all ranked as higher threats to ATMs.

Also read: Bitcoin Shop Builds Universal Digital Currency Ecosystem On Several Fronts

ATM Providers Weigh in on Digital Currency Exchange

The report also includes perceptions from ATM providers. When asked which of 10 capabilities they would like to see at the ATM, virtual currency exchange scored 19 percent. Virtual currency exchange ranked last behind the following capabilities: bill payment at the ATM, 61 percent; cash withdrawals in multiple denominations, 56 percent; real time transactions (e.g., instant credit to account on deposits), 46 percent; check cashing at ATM, 42 percent; personal preference setup (withdrawal amounts, balance displays), 39 percent; cardless cash withdrawal using mobile app, 33 percent; prepaid card sales, 27 percent; email receipt, 26 percent; event ticket sales, 21 percent.

Only 2 percent of consumers expect to see virtual currency as having the greatest impact on global ATM industry; they were asked about a total of 13 capabilities. The factors expected to have the greatest impact are: mobile technology, 46 percent; branch transformation, 15 percent; cash recycling, 10 percent; interchange reduction, 5 percent; more technology/equipment to protect cardholder PINs, 4 percent; government regulations, 4 percent; other, 4 percent; changes to ATM surcharges, 3 percent; self service software upgrades and patches, 2 percent; working with outside vendors on PCI compliance, 2 percent; movement of ATMs to virtual private networks, 2 percent; deployment of more Windows based ATMs, 1 percent.

 

 

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Lester Coleman

Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.

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