Australia Looks to Link Smartphones to ATMs

Australia is seeking to hasten the deployment of new technology that enables banking customers to ditch their plastic and rely solely on a smartphone to get cash from automated teller machines (ATMs), thus removing the risk of falling victim to skimmers.

Using a smartphone-based app the customer could operate an ATM without touching it.

The Australian Payments Clearing Association’s (APCA) chief executive (CEO), Chris Hamilton said the world of innovative financial service technologies was continuing to expand and this type of new technology could be one Australians would soon use.

“There’s a lot of people trying to develop mobile phone based ways of allowing payments services – there’s no reason why this wouldn’t end up here,’’ he said.

“A financial institution could introduce this for its customers – they can control the app on the phone and the ATM for it work.’’

APCA data shows that in the 2012-13 financial year there were 68,800 transactions related to skimming on Australian-issued credit, debit and charge cards and thieves stole more than A$25.27m.

Recent research from the Commonwealth Bank found three out of four Australians expect mobile wallets to replace physical wallets in Australia by 2021.

The technology that Australia hopes to adopt is being trialled in the US by Ohio-based international ATM manufacturer Diebold and similar technology has already been introduced in Spain.

Users download the company’s mobile wallet and register their debit card within the app. Registered members can then initiate an ATM withdrawal via their phone, by scanning a quick response (QR) code that appears onscreen to activate the dispensing of cash.

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