Customer control in the ATM world

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30 June 2010
Zilvinas Bareisis
I wanted to build on my earlier blogs about customers getting more control over their card transactions. I do think it's a genuine trend, although I am conscious that the more you think about something, the more you tend to notice things which seem to support your argument, yet otherwise perhaps wouldn't have caught your attention. This is one such example. I just came back from a long weekend in Brugge, Belgium. Just as an aside - if you haven't been to Brugge, you should pack your bags and go as soon as you have a chance. Many years, before I even heard of it, when people described it to me as "Venice of the North, prettier than Paris, etc", I could not believe it, but I've now been there three times and agree with all those accolades. Beautiful litte town. Back to cards though. Card acceptance is broad and you can use your plastic pretty much anywhere. You can also see the signs of Bancontact/ Mr Cash, a local debit scheme, all over the place, with the plans to migrate Mr Cash to Maestro having been shelved a few years ago. As a tourist though, you still feel the need for the safety of cash sometimes. So I went to BNP Paribas ATM, which if I remember it correctly was one of the Diebold models. Most ATM transactions, especially abroad, tend to suprise you only when for whatever reason they refuse your card and you can't get your money. However, here I was positively surprised - after I entered the amount, I was given a choice of notes denomination. For 150 Euros I was given a couple of options - 3x50 or 5x20+1x50. As I changed the amount, the options changed accordingly, e.g. for EUR160 = 2x50 + 3x20 or 8*20. I am not sure, perhaps it is a standard ATM feature in some other countries as well, but I haven't seen that in the UK or in any other countries I travelled recently and I thought it was a nice bit of functionality, making me feel that I have influence and control over the outcome of the transcation.

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