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Cash, Self-Service Bank Branches and Biometrics Discussed at Banking & Retail Technologies PLUS Forum

On October 4-5, representatives of the Lithuanian BS/2 banking technologies company took part in the 9th International PLUS Forum “Cash Circulation + Self-service. Banking and Retail 2017”. The annual event at the Moscow Sokolniki Congress & Exhibition Center once again confirmed one of the most anticipated events in the industry. This time, the PLUS Forum had a record (1.4 thousand) number of delegates, including recognized experts from both Russian and international markets, representatives of banks, regulators, vendors, retailers, relevant ministries and agencies, and law enforcement agencies. At the conference and exhibition dedicated to banking technologies, 57 speakers and over 70 Russian and foreign companies presented their technological and software products and solutions.

We talk with the head of the BS/2 business development department, Daniel Fukson, about his impressions of the past forum:

– What was so special about the past PLUS Forum – and what major trends in the banking technologies sector you‘ve noticed?

– This past PLUS forum turned out to be one of the most interesting events, not only because of its solid number of participants – or specialized software solutions but also thanks to exciting and interactive reports. Regarding the trends in banking technologies, banks are now eager to reduce their costs and optimize business processes. Now many banks are extremely interested in universal technological solutions that can replace a small bank branch. The self-depositing services offered by banks to their corporate customers through automated deposit machines are also becoming more popular.

The banking equipment functionality extension is another new trend. Now you can deposit cash to replenish your account or pay your bills using an ATM with cash-in or recycling functionality. As far as security concerns, the biometrics means are becoming increasingly popular here…

– Could we say that the volume of cash payments decreases and more and more banking services are provided virtually?

– Yes – and no. Although according to the survey carried out by the PLUS magazine, the volume of cash payments in Western European countries is decreasing, the amount of cash in circulation is growing. Thus, in 2012-2016, there was a rapid increase in cash in Mexico (68%), Singapore (46%), Great Britain (30%), Eastern Europe (27%), and the United States (25%). Interestingly, 70% of East Europeans (urban and rural residents) do not even imagine their lives without cash.

– Does this mean that the demand for ATMs will shortly remain at the same level and, possibly, even increase?

– ATMs, of course, will remain; nevertheless, their functionality will change a lot. Through ATMs, you can deposit and withdraw cash and make bank transfers between different accounts. According to forecasts, by 2020, the number of ATMs capable of accepting cash will increase by 30%. Over the past five years (2012-2016), the use of ATMs in Eastern Europe has increased by 16% – even though the cash deposit growth rate is much higher than that of its withdrawals.

– And how does the relationship between banks and customers change? If ATMs perform more and more functions, perhaps the bank branches will become unnecessary?

– New technologies actively march in the banking sector, while the banks reduce the number of their physical branches and introduce various automated systems. With this regard, the banking technological equipment manufacturers, such as Diebold Nixdorf (BS/2 being its partner), offer various solutions so that bank employees can spend more time providing more consultancy to the clients and selling them banking products and services. On the other hand, self-service devices can be used for cash operations, i.e., cash deposits and withdrawals.

The 24-hour self-service bank branches, with no staff at all, is another alternative. During the PLUS Forum, many universal self-service devices that could replace the bank branch were introduced. BS/2 is also moving towards this direction and has successfully implemented a similar solution – VTM.iQ in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.

– Are ordinary people not afraid to trust their money to the smart machines?

– There was a lot of talk about security issues at the PLUS Forum. Biometrics develops rapidly. Thanks to face recognition technology, one can accurately determine whether there is a live person by the ATM – or someone has put a photo in front of the camera. The biometrical technologies now integrated into all self-service devices provide additional security identifying a person by a PIN code and by his or her appearance. By the way, this method can also be used for direct marketing purposes, i.e., having identified a customer, the self-service device can offer appropriate services.

– How does BS/2 contribute to the banking sector development?

We constantly monitor the global banking market trends, the changing needs of the financial institutions and consumers and develop specialized integrated solutions. And the fact that our solutions become more and more popular shows that we are on the right track.

– Thank you for the interview.

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