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FIS Expands Cardless Cash to Thousands of U.S. Cardtronics ATMs
June 29, 2017

By Kevin Woodward

Cardless cash access at ATMs is expanding. ATM operator Cardtronics plc, which owns or operates more than 233,000 ATMs globally, is adding FIS Cardless Cash access to its U.S. machines, Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS) announced Thursday.

Image Credit: FIS

An image capture from an FIS YouTube video demonstrating FIS Cardless Cash.

Launched in 2015, FIS Cardless Cash enables consumers to stage cash withdrawals using a mobile-banking app built with FIS technology. Jacksonville, Fla.-based FIS says more than 30 U.S. banks use the cardless-cash platform.

The service has proven popular with consumers, Douglas Brown, senior vice president and general of FIS Mobile, tells Digital Transactions News. “We basically see double-digit percent use within the first 12 months when it’s deployed,” Brown says. “There is very heavy repeat usage.”

To use FIS Cardless Cash, the consumer taps the Cardless Cash button in the banking app to set up a transaction. Upon arrival at a participating ATM, the consumer presses the Cardless Cash button on the ATM display. A quick-response barcode appears. From within the banking app—which can be authenticated using the smart phone’s biometric sensor—she accesses the smart-phone’s camera to scan the QR code. The app makes a backend check on the account. If authorized, instructions are sent to the machine to dispense the cash. There is communication between the phone and the ATM, but it’s over a secure cloud service using tokenized data.

The service eliminates the need to insert a debit card into the ATM, potentially bypassing the risk of card skimming, while prompting a consumer to use her bank’s app more often. The app also includes a location function to find FIS Cardless Cash-capable ATMs.

Brown says the Cardtronics deployment is scheduled to take 24 months. It is not known if FIS Cardless Cash will be available at all Cardtronics machines, including those it operates on behalf of banks, or just those bearing its brand. Brown says the intent is that FIS Cardless Cash will be available at the majority of the Cardtronics U.S. fleet. As of Dec. 31, Cardtronics itself owned nearly 45,000 ATMs in the United States.

“Our integration efforts are presently kicking off, and we are targeting a 24-month phased rollout across the Cardtronics ATM footprint,” a Cardtronics spokesman says in an email. “In time, the deployment details will come into sharper focus. For now, Cardtronics is pleased to be working with FIS to help connect the mobile banking platform with physical access to cash.”

Another large ATM operator, Payment Alliance International, which has more than 70,000 machines, is adding FIS Cardless Cash capability, too. The completion of both expansion efforts will greatly increase the availability of the FIS service from its current roster of approximately 3,000 machines.

Brown says the deployment of the service to retail ATMs is similar to that for bank-owned machines, and involves a software update. For the consumer, the only change is the presentation of a surcharge accept-or-decline button to the app, he says.

There are numerous potential benefits, as well as some hurdles, with such services, says Sam M. Ditzion, president and chief executive of Boston-based Tremont Capital Group Inc.

“In theory, there is some level of additional authentication, and in theory there’s lower risk of fraud,” Ditzion tells Digital Transactions News. “Right now, when you go to a non-EMV ATM, your card could be skimmed. With EMV, which is becoming standard in almost all ATMs, that risk is significantly reduced.” But even with EMV, a criminal could still capture a consumer’s PIN with a hidden camera or by looking over the person’s shoulder.

With cardless-cash service, there is nothing to skim and no PIN to capture, Ditzion says. “Now, it’s entirely software-driven, and in theory it’s impenetrable.”

A hurdle is that, for Cardtronics to benefit, a consumer must have a debit card issued by a bank that uses FIS’s mobile-banking platform, and the consumer must be willing to use the Cardtronics machine instead of the bank’s ATM, Ditzion says. “That’s one challenge they’re going to have.”

With that said, cardless-cash services harbor a lot of potential because consumers like the technology aspect and banks like advertising they have the latest technology and integrating mobile banking with ATMs, he says.

“This is good for Cardtronics because it offers them a whole new set of transactions they weren’t able to accept,” Ditzion says, that would have gone to other ATM operators that could have accepted them.

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