With the economy still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic, the ATM Industry Association is betting that offering a new Start Up membership category at a reduced cost will attract new members and entice back into the fold former members that dropped out during the pandemic for financial reasons.
The new membership, which offers the benefits of a regional associate-level membership, is $500, is 60% less than a regular membership and $100 less than the small-business-level membership, but with more benefits, ATMIA says. The association typically charges $900 for an annual membership.
ATMIA offered a similar membership during the recession of 2008-2009 to attract new members, says Sharon Lane, global director, finance and member service, for ATMIA.
One incentive built in to the Start Up membership plan is that members will able to add unlimited staff to receive industry updates, including newsletters. Other benefits include education, such as white papers, best practices, and free Webinars, access to regional advocacy alerts, and discounts on ATMIA Academy certification and training.
“This is a way for us to do something special and provide extra support to members that have been feeling the financial effects of the pandemic,” says Lane. “Since Covid hit, we have had some members not renew their memberships and this is a way bring them back.”
ATMIA has more than 12,000 members.
One of the effects ATM owners have felt during the Covid-19 pandemic has been a downturn in transaction volume. While ATMIA has no hard numbers on the decline, anecdotal evidence from members indicates that ATM owners with machines in retail locations such as convenience stores, bars, and restaurants, are still shouldering the brunt of the downturn in transaction volume, as many retail locations are seeing reduced traffic or remain closed, says David Tente, ATMIA’s executive director, USA, Canada, and Americas. “An estimated 40% to 50% of retail ATMs remain inaccessible,” Tente says.
By contrast, “financial institutions deploying ATMs are starting to regain some of the losses in volume as bank lobbies are starting to reopen,” Tente says. “We have also seen ATM crime and vandalism increase in recent months.”
One reason financial institutions deploying ATMs have weathered the storm better than retail ATM owners is their machines have provided consumers with access to their bank accounts even if the bank lobby has been shuttered.
“With bank branches shut, ATMs become the primary channel for consumers to deposit funds in their account and make withdrawals,” says Sam Ditzion, chief executive of Boston-based Tremont Capital Group. “Location, location, location is a big factor right now. In general, transactions through ATMs deployed by financial institutions are up while ATMs in retail locations are down.”
Evidence also suggests the average ATM withdrawal amount is up during the pandemic, although that trend was occurring prior to the pandemic, Tente adds.