Now, Virtual ATMs?

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1 February 2013


  • This seems like a cultural disconnect. Who wants to deal with random strangers? Especially when money is involved? And people's person security is a big concern. What could be more foolish than telling the internet you have cash and are willing to meet up with people who want it? Sounds like a perfect way to get mugged... or worse.

  • [...] en particulier en France où nous avons déjà environ 1 GAB pour 1200 habitants (selon un billet de Bob Meara, de Celent), les opportunités risquent de se limiter à quelques cas [...]

  • Bob - a great article! I also think it’s a very interesting idea, and certainly a novel angle to exploit mobile advantages such as geo-location and connectivity.

    But, for this service to become widely adopted, you need at least three conditions to be in place:

    1. Finding a person with an iPhone willing to lend you money should be easier than finding an ATM. As you point out, ATM penetration differs widely between countries and between urban and rural locations within a country, but I imagine if I plan to be in a remote area, I would make sure in advance I have cash or other means to pay (e.g. cards.)

    2. The fee for the service should be comparable or better than the ATM fee. In the US, where customers get charged for using out-of-network ATMs, this might work. In the UK, where I can use any bank's ATM for free, I would always try and find one first before considering alternatives.

    3. The transaction needs to be safe. Essentially, you are waving your open wallet in front of complete strangers. Of course, most people are honest and many transactions would work absolutely fine, but it would only take a few stories of muggings or unpleasant experiences to give the service a bad name.

    So, while I like the creativity behind the idea, we'll have to see if it actualy works in practice.

  • Really? Compelling? They should name it Rob-O-Matic.

  • It may bear mentioning that a patent application does not imply a forthcoming product launch.

  • [...] which made headlines recently with their patent for cash distribution without ATMs – see Bob Meara’s excellent blog and my related comments for more [...]