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ATMs don't Learn ...

In todays world of technology where nearly every company is talking about Machine Learning including the Banks and where they are moving into digital wallets, looking at blockchain for security and data sharing etc., the ATMs just don’t learn.

We can start calling them Always There Megaliths. Yes they seem to be a piece of history because they don't evolve. and lacks INNOVATION.

So what’s wrong - it dispenses cash, collects deposits, allows you to change your PIN and a few more features and wasn’t this what it was supposed to do.

Yes of course, but in todays world of customization and addressing you by your personal preferences, the ATMs in India haven’t evolved at all and let me quote 2 simple examples.

The first time I used an ATM was back in 1996-97 in Chennai and was in awe like any new technology that people encounter for the first time. It could dispense cash without me standing in a queue waiting to get a token and to be called out later to collect cash from the teller at a physical bank.

Like most of you reading this, I have used an ATM or Debit card for decades and most importantly from the same bank for years. So every time I go to the ATM and insert my card, the machine would first prompt me in English (in most cases) to enter my PIN. Then it would validate my card with the PIN & would recognize me and flash my name on the screen.

Here is where the problem starts. Then it will ask me to choose a language.

Man, haven’t we been using the same language to transact on the ATM for years. So why can't it pick up automatically that I use English as my preferred language always.

Have you gone through this? Isn’t this frustrating ?

Then, the next option it would prompt is to choose whether you are transacting from a “Savings Account” or a “Current Account” or a “Credit Card”.

How stupid can this be ?

The bank issued the Debit Card in the first place and mapped me to the numbers on the Card for the ATM to validate me. Then why can’t the bank match the numbers to it being a “Savings Account” or a “Current Account” or a “Credit Card”. And with all banks now sharing the “Visa” or “Master Card” network, shouldn’t this be a NO brainer, but our Megalith stands tall asking you to enter the details all the time.

My language Preference hasn’t changed in 20 years. My personal Debit card will never be a “Credit Card” but you have to enter your Preferences even though your Behavior is the same.

Hope these minute increments happen faster to enhance our experience.

This article was first written and published by me on Linked in October of 2016. The article has been slightly edited in this blog.

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