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Will ATMs with video chat be the end of live tellers?

Evan Dashevsky | April 8, 2013
It's kind of weird how we've become so accustomed to interacting with robots for our money matters.

It's kind of weird how we've become so accustomed to interacting with robots for our money matters. (ATMs have moving parts, therefore: robots.) Well, now one national bank chain will experiment with giving users the option of working with a sentient carbon-based representative when at the money machine.

Bank of America recently announced their new Teller Assist program that will give customers access to a live representative--right through the ATM. Users can speak directly with a remote Bank of America teller via real time video chat in both English and Spanish.

The new system will give customers to access to options such as cashing checks for the exact amount and withdrawing money in a variety of specific denominations. In the future, Teller Assist will give customers the ability to deposit checks with cash back, split a deposit into two or more accounts, and make loan or credit card payments.

Teller Assist will be available during extended hours seven days a week. The system will initially roll-out to Boston area ATMs and then hit "select U.S. markets" through the rest of the year.

Many aspects of personal banking have moved online over the last few years. And that's fine for transactions like transfers and deposits. However, for matters dealing directly with cash withdraws or deposits, it's convenient that these more advanced (and personable) banking options exist at the point of transaction.

Furthermore, if the experiment is deemed a success, banks may further invest in making all their customer transactions remote. In some ways it may be a more convenient option for customers, and it will certainly be cheaper for the bank. We may eventually see the end of the live in-person banker as yet another example of the trend towards de-peopling of consumer transactions.


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