Cash recycling technology – best practices for customer acceptance and engagement

Published December 10, 2021


Our need for cash is as strong as ever. Despite lockdowns and an acceleration of digital payments, cash use across the globe has bounced back as normal life resumes. According to RBR, the number of cash withdrawals made at ATMs around the world is expected to increase 10% between 2020 and 2026. And all regions except western Europe are expected to see growth in cash withdrawal volumes as most markets begin recovery from the pandemic and regional lockdowns, leading to an increase in ATM visits.

As consumers are increasingly comfortable with using self-service technologies in banking, including mobile, internet, and ATMs. Financial institutions (FIs) are transforming their operating models to meet the ever-changing customer demand for banking anywhere, any time.  What’s more, FIs are looking to adapt not only their ATM and branch networks, but their operational systems in order to drive efficiencies through the combined self-service channel.

That’s why financial institutions across the globe are making greater use of cash recycling ATMs, with over 926,000 of these machines installed (RBR 2020) and this number is increasing each year. Cash recycling ATMs combine deposit and withdrawal functionalities to enable customers to withdraw the cash that another has just deposited.

This is a game changer. With cash recycling ATM technology, FIs can reduce cash in transit visits and costs while increasing cash availability for customers. What’s more, small businesses can make larger out-of-hours cash deposits, and consumers can get more consistent access to cash – and often more choice of denominations available at the ATM. 

NCR Cash Recycling video

Not just hardware and software

The right ATM hardware and cash management software are fundamental to successful cash recycling deployment and can deliver FIs real efficiency and cost savings. The potential benefits are clear, with cash recycling capability saving up to 50% on cash handling costs. What’s more, effective cash management software can boost that efficiency by 20% more.

But to ensure success, you need to bring your customers on the journey too. The considerations that go into how financial institutions adopt, promote, and deploy cash recycling technology to ensure maximum customer acceptance are crucial to successful recycling deployment.

Here are our top 5 tips to ensuring that customers perceive cash recycling ATMs as useful and usable, thus making the new technology deployment a success.

5 Tips for a seamless and successful user experience


Adding new technology to your ATM network is a great opportunity to communicate with customers. It’s a positive message to let them know that their FI continues to invest and innovate to give them the best experiences, while the latest functionalities save them time standing in a queue for a teller. Use all the communications channels at your disposal – flyers through the post, emails, ATM marketing, digital signage in branch, and social media. Get creative with your messaging to inform customers about the new offer so that they can familiarize themselves at their own pace and come to the ATM or branch already familiar with the technology and ready to embrace it.

Offer a helping hand

Consider having a concierge on the floor to support customers as they engage with the new technology. You don’t want your customers to get frustrated and put off by their first experience. With someone there to help guide, support, and educate customers during the first few weeks, adoption and engagement rates will undoubtedly increase.

Optimize signage

Make it clear to customers where to go with clear signage to direct them. For example, ‘Convenience Banking’ will attract customers to the self-service area, where clear signage can be used to indicate the different transactions that can be fulfilled at the ATMs – as you may be running a combination of dispense, recycling, and account service technologies. It can be as simple as ‘Cash Deposit, Check Deposit, and Cash Withdrawals’ to show customers they can do all these transactions at the same ATM. This mitigates confusion and allows for them to use technology to the fullest.

On ATM guidance

As ATMs offer newer technologies – such as contactless authentication, pre-staged transactions, and biometrics – they become more complex – but they’re also more intuitive, with user interfaces that are increasingly similar to those of smartphones.  

To help guide customers, some FIs use stickers on the ATM to show where to authenticate, withdraw, or deposit their cash. Visual guidance is helpful in cases where we want to aid usability – e.g., showing the direction in which notes should be deposited. Also, dynamic lighting on the ATM can guide users to the correct slot, depending on which transaction they are fulfilling. On-screen video and animated instructions have also proven useful, especially when customers are guided by a series of video cues to further assist with transactions. This enables customers to get it right the first time, reducing potential frustration and increasing positive customer experience and adoption.  

Related: All the powerful ways ATMs have evolved to lead a digital world

Enhance the ATM software application

Help guide customers when they are using the ATM by enhancing the ATM software and leverage the intuitive nature of the user interface (UI). The software brings the transactions, user experience, and your brand to life. The design of the software interface and transaction flow is crucial for the adoption of new technologies. Make sure that the UI buttons are clear, colors are attractive but not distracting, and that the consumer intuitively knows how to fulfill the transaction from start to finish. It is a good practice to test the software screen flow with different user groups to ensure it is designed to make a better experience for all your customers.

If you bear in mind these elements, cash recycling ATM deployment – or any new self-service technology- will put you on a path to success. Without it, you run the risk of wasting your investment and not realizing the efficiency benefits that are available as customers will continue to choose the teller as it offers the easiest and most convenient route to achieving their banking requirements. 

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