Tuesday, 7 November 2017

ATMs vs human tellers in our banking halls.

One of the greatest innovation in recent times is ATM (Automated Teller Machine). It was an idea in the 1960's by John Shepherd-Barron for a 24/7 cash dispenser. The world's first ATM was installed outside North London. It was installed in a branch of Barclays Bank in 1967.

On September 2, 1969, Chemical Bank installed the first ATM in the U.S. at its branch in Rockville Centre, New York. The first ATMs were designed to dispense a fixed amount of cash when a user inserted a specially coded card.

HSBC -- the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation -- was the first bank to introduce the ATM concept in India way back in 1987. Now, most of the banks have their ATM outlets in India. The ATMs installed were from Diebold.

How does an ATM work? As you know, an ATM has two input devices: Card reader - The card reader captures the account information stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of an ATM/debit or credit card. The host processor uses this information to route the transaction to the cardholder's bank.

James Goodfellow OBE (born 1937 in Paisley, Renfrewshire) is a Scottish inventor. In 1966, he patented personal identification number (PIN) technology, and the cash machine. He was a development engineer given the project of developing an automatic cash dispenser in 1965.

Tuesday 21 April 1981, Standard Bank Group became the first of the major commercial banks in South Africa to introduce automated teller machines (ATMs) when it launched AutoBank. The first ATM was a far cry from machines of today.

Over thirty-six years down the line, ATMs across South Africa have been widely embraced by customers of various banking institutions thereby indicating a decline in the number of human tellers in our banking halls today. The rate whereby ATMs installation is taking place across villages, townships, cities and provinces is more than the rate banks employ human tellers.

My recent visit to one of these banking halls revealed to me that soon our bread winners would soon be loosing the race to ATMs as I struggled to be attended to by a convectional human teller. Is so shocking, the moment I walked into a branch of banking institution in Braamfontein I was advised by the security to join the queue of people waiting to be served by these machines. The ridiculous part is; just one or two would serve a throng of people.

I was in a hurry so I didn't join the long queue and I decided to walk down to another branch at Johannesburg Park Station Central. Lo and behold; it was closed! They expected us to use the ATMs in the park station hall. Immediately this recent discovery raised an eye brow then I refused to give up until I went to the major branch of the same bank down town hoping to find something different. To my greatest disappointment, the bank assistant simply told me to join the queue at the ATMs. I tried to convince her that I don't know how to operate it she politely told me that two security officer would guide me.

I left angrily but I still need to do a bank transaction but then I remember another branch that has never disappointed. I walked in and asked with a smile on my face; "can I use a human teller please?" The lady looked at me I laughed. Behold in the counter is just one lady serving few people and I happily joined the queue. I gave her my transaction tellers to process and she asked me " why you didn't use the ATM?"  I told her "you are the first  human teller I ever met in four branches of your bank!" She said to me "soon the ATMs would take my job!"

On this junction, I said to her, "your banks has no say on who to attend to me as customer. If I choose a human teller they must provide the service as I own the banking system or is it the other way round?" She tried to educate me about how much in bank charges I pay for using the convectional teller to  the ATMs  or online banking but my point is as a human customer there's more a business relationship we can build on with a human teller than an automated teller machine and how many bread winners can we witnessed shown the way out of their jobs?

The bottom line is; in as much as we want a better banking service but how can tackle this decline in human tellers in our banking institutions?

Please share your opinions!

By Olagunju, Success Taiwo.

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