Self-Service Revolution Is Here: NCR

by Rajendra Chaudhary    Sep 22, 2006

Technology solutions provider NCR believes that the Indian banking industry needs to prepare itself for the growing self-service trend among the customers and utilize technology for offering customers a superior banking experience.

Advent of self-service technologies such as telephone, Internet, automated teller machine (ATM), Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale (EFTPOS) terminals has meant that more and more customers are beginning to do their transactions outside the bank branches as per their convenience.

“Consumers worldwide have really taken to the idea of self-service and India is no exception. The basic philosophy behind the self-service theory is convenience, efficiency and shorter transaction time. In a bid to satisfy these demands of the new age customer, banks everywhere have rolled out different channels such as web, e-mail, mobile, IVR, ATM etc. that provide customers with different modes of carrying out their transactions,” said Malcolm Collins, Sr. VP Financial Solutions Division, NCR.

Speaking further he said, “Customers today are asking for more and more facilities to be provided through these channels. Gone are the days when ATMs were simple cash dispensing machines, today’s ATMs are highly sophisticated multi-functional machines that perform variety of tasks such as cash deposit, cheque deposit, bill payment and other non-cash transactions. Other modes such as Internet have also become increasingly versatile and allow customers do all their banking without having to go to an actual bank branch.”

However, according to Collins, it is where the problems are beginning to start and a lot of banks are starting to face issues in integrating and controlling their different delivery channels. He suggested that banks should employ technology that would facilitate greater interoperability and lead to increased transparency at the operational levels.

The other concern is security. In light of growing incidents of fraud and financially motivated cyber crimes, customers and banks alike are becoming increasingly wary of falling prey to such instances. Collins proposed that by utilizing sophisticated technologies such as fraud detection systems and regularly assessing their software systems banks can combat the menace to a great degree of success.

“ATM which is still the most prevalent transaction channel in India can be made more secure by leveraging technologies such as biometrics and voice recognition. Using smart cards, RFID and algorithm to authenticate transactions could also give users added sense of security,” said Collins.

Whether banks like it or not, customers in future are bound to go in for delivery channels other than bank-branches. It may not be to the extent that branches will become empty hallways, but surely customers will show a bent towards banking outside confines of branch and hence Indian banks will need to invest in creating these channels if they hope to exist in the ever so competitive environment.