Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  07 Oct 2009

: Growing Demand for Convenient Access to Cash


Recent Gauteng Business News

Over the past ten years there has been a global increase in the use of independent ATM systems, a service traditionally dominated by the big banks. Ever since the very first ATM was installed by Barclays Bank in London way back in 1967, ATMs have become part of the mainstream banking system and are now the most commonly accepted means to obtain cash in most developed and developing countries. Internationally there are estimated to be over 1.5 million ATM’s in use, with new access points growing daily. This all points to the fact that cash is still king, in spite of the success of transaction cards and online banking.

This rapid growth is fuelled by a growing demand for convenient cash dispensing points from the consumer as well as store vendors as both become aware of the numerous benefits.

The global reality is that ATMs are being forced to become more and more readily available, as consumers are accustomed to finding secure ATM points in the majority of retail and hospitality outlets. This ranges from small independent pubs and convenience stores to larger nationally franchised retailers. In the context of South Africa they are of particular benefit in smaller towns and rural locations where banking facilities are sometimes extremely limited.

In developed countries, such as Australia, Canada, the USA and the UK, independent ATMs now deliver over 60% of cash dispending services in each country. In South Africa the demand has grown rapidly through tangible benefits for both the consumer and vendor, and independent ATMs now represent over 15% of the market. South Africa has a developed banking system that is ranked eighth among countries with a population of over 20 million, ahead of France and Japan, and is destined to become the Hong Kong of Africa. There is therefore an enormous potential market for independent ATMs throughout South Africa and the rest of the continent.

The primary benefits for customers are:

  • Being able to withdraw cash in a safe place
  • Being able to draw money in the place where they plan to shop
  • Competitive withdrawal rates
  • With an ATM that is a Saswitch, Visa and Mastercard ATM, it can be used by local and international cardholders for both credit and debit cards.

For merchants hosting ATMs inside their premises the benefits include:

  • Higher sales and an increase in the average spend
  • Increased foot-traffic
  • Growth in customer loyalty
  • Savings on bank and credit/debit card fees
  • Less time spent visiting the bank as money is continually recycled through the ATM
  • Earning direct revenue for the vendor from each in-store ATM transaction.

ATMs offer these benefits in any location where customers require cash to pay for goods or services. With a massive influx of visitors expected in South Africa during 2010, an accessible and secure place to withdraw cash will undoubtedly be a high priority, and independent ATMs are bound to be increasingly appreciated by both customers and merchants.

With tourism and urbanisation in South Africa rapidly expanding and particularly with the World Cup in 2010 set to attract large numbers of visitors, the requirements for safe and cost effective cash dispensing points is rapidly on the rise.

Marc Sternberg, Managing Director of Spark ATM Services concludes: “Convenience ATMs are becoming the norm for merchants large and small across the retail, leisure and hospitality industries. Everything points to the fact that the local independent ATM industry will follow the international trend, and we are positioned for a very exciting growth spurt.”

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