Bank of America is expanding its trial of Internet-enabled ATMs, and by next year may upgrade its entire 14,000 ATM network, the nation's largest.
BofA, which has been testing Web-enabled touch screens on three ATMs in Atlanta since September, is adding the technology to another sevenmachines in Atlanta and a dozen in Charlotte, N.C., its home city. Each ATM will have full-motion color video, sound and high-quality color. The upgrade will cost $2,000 to $7,000 per machine, depending on its age and software versions. To help offset the cost, Bank of America will show short videos to Web customers advertising products and services from the bank and outside vendors.
"Web-enabled ATMs are part of our overall strategy to deliver all our banking services using Internet technology," said Barbara Desoer, principal marketing officer at Bank of America.
Although Web-enabling ATMs is a good idea in theory, Web surfing and ATM advertising can get in the way of fast and efficient processing, annoying customers and jeopardizing customer service, noted Paul Jamieson, an analyst with Gomez Advisors. Bank of America and Wells Fargo, which is following a similar tack, must be careful to not allow Web surfers to slow down the line. "Access to new products can enhance the user's experience, but it should be at the customer's choice," said Jamieson.