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Meeting of the Month
No meeting of the month this month. July and August are summer holiday periods for most meetings!
Just a refresher; our meeting of the month for June 2018 was the European Advisory Board, which was held on 11 June in London.
IT WAS A BRILLIANT MEETING WITH WIDE-RANGING DISCUSSIONS ON KEY INDUSTRY ISSUES.
This is ATMIA Europes most important Committee. If you are not a Board-level member of the ATMIA and wish to upgrade to participate in this crucial Committee, please contact Ron Delnevo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UK Government has rightly made clear that it wants the UK Public to be able to deposit their cash at any ATM that has a deposit facility. In these days when the number of bank branches is fast declining, it is unrealistic - and very inconvenient - to expect those wishing to deposit cash to search out one of their own bank's ATMs to do so.
However, universal cash deposit at ATMs is only really a first step. What is truly needed is a network of Smart ATMs, strategically located around the UK and providing 99% of the services available at a staffed bank branch.
Every local community in Europe needs at least two Smart ATMs. ATMS are elrctro-mechanical devices which suffer faults and outages, including cash-outs. Two ATMs is therefore the minimum requirememt for any Community with no bank branch to provide local access to financial services.
Smart ATMs will provide many transactions and one of the most important is cash recycling. This is a progression from simply accepting cash deposits. A cash recycling ATM processes deposited notes, removing those that are damaged or dubious and makes available for withdrawal those notes which are fit for recycling to the public.
Cash recycling is convenient for ATM users and is also ultimately a cost-reduction measure. It cuts down the number of cash deliveries needed to ATMs and ensures that communities have some access to cash, even where for any reason a cash delivery fails to happen.
Any local recycling is good for the environment. Cash recycling can therefore be seen as helping the ATM Industry contribute to making our world a better place in which to live.
In some countries, all new ATMs which are being installed are capable of cash recycling. We urgently need to see this trend accelerate to include the UK and the whole of Europe.
The good news in the UK is that the LINK Network now has a Universal Cash Deposit transaction available to be used. All that is needed now is for all Issuers to adopt the transaction. After that, any ATM Operator can install machines anywhere to accept cash deposits from the customers of any Card Issuer.
It is clear that the UK Treasury is genuinely strongly interested in innovations, such as Cash Recyling at ATMS. This should provide impetus to the adoption of some exciting innovations in the ATM sector.
Ron Delnevo has written to Hannah Nixon, CEO of the UK Payments Regulator(PSR) on a number of occassions, asking for an urgent update on the adoption of Universal Cash Deposit in the UK and asking what Ms Nixon is doing to facilitate adoption. This LINK transaction is vital to the smooth circulation of cash in the UK. It needs to be adopted by all issuers so that ATMs will the requisite functionality can be installed in Communities around the UK.
Despite several written requests for the Payment Systems Regulator to act, Hannah Nixon has so far failed to do so. Some people argue the PSR has been "captured" by anti-cash vested interests. There is,as yet, no evidence to the contrary.
Ron met with the UK Treasury in early September 2017 and again in January and June 2018, at which meetings he asked the Treasury to intervene to ensure this vital transaction is implemented as soon as possible on UK ATMs. He has also continued to apply pressure to the Payments Systems Regulator and LINK to get this transaction implemented,
There will be considerable media coverage of this hugely important issue in 2018, so the first Card Issuer to implement this transaction will attract massive positive publicity.
Another transaction that needs to be available throughout the LINK Network is contactless cash withdrawals. At the moment, some ATMs offer this sevice to some cardholders. This is very confusing as fas as the public is concerned.
Contactless cash withdrawals at ATMs improve security and reduce average transaction times by 30%, which increases the capacity of busy ATMs and reduces queuing times.
Which bank will be the "First Mover" for these transactions?
WATCH THIS SPACE!
Payment Choice 2020: Maintaining Payment Choice in Europe
The ATMIA has been heavily involved in the Nordic Region in recent years, trying to help ensure that both ATMs and cash have a good future
Ron Delnevo appeared at the Nordic Finance Forum in Stockholm on 9 November 2017. His presentation focused on how SmartATMs can replace lost bank branches.
The ATMIA has also been fully involved in Finland, trying to stop the imposition of Disloyalty Fees on bank customers who choose to use non-bank ATMs.
The good news at the end of January 2018 is that the Finnish Financial Services Regulator has ruled out the imposition of Disloyalty Fees. THIS IS A BIG WIN FOR THE PUBLIC, INDEPENDENT ATM OPERATORS - AND CASH!
It means that it will remain economic for new ATMS to be installed to meet the cash needs of the Finnish public and businesses.
Government intervention looked unlikely, until very recently. However the following article from Bloomberg, published on 18 February 2018, holds out some hope of government action
““No cash accepted” signs are becoming an increasingly common sight in shops and eateries across Sweden as payments go digital and mobile.
But the pace at which cash is vanishing has authorities worried. A broad review of central bank legislation that’s under way is now taking a special look at the situation, with an interim report due as early as this Summer .
“If this development with cash disappearing happens too fast, it can be difficult to maintain the infrastructure” for handling cash, said Mats Dillen, the head of the parliamentary review. He declined to give more details on the types of proposals that could be included in the report.
Sweden is widely regarded as the most cashless society on the planet. Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; many shops, museums and restaurants now only accept plastic or mobile payments. But there’s a downside, since many people, in particular the elderly, don’t have access to the digital society.
Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves has said Sweden should consider forcing banks to provide cash to customers. In its annual report on Monday, the Riksbank said the question is what role it should play in a future with even fewer cash payments.
“The Riksbank is carefully analyzing this development,” Ingves said. “Overall, I think we are facing structural changes in areas that have previously been stable. This is a development which will affect all the Riksbank’s departments and we will need to make strategic decisions regarding the way forward.””
“One may get into a negative spiral which can threaten the cash infrastructure,” Dillen said. “It’s those types of issues we are looking more closely at.”
Since this article appeared a Parliamentary Committee has recommended that bank branches be compelled to offer cash services. This is getting some pushback from the Swedish Banking Association - but it looks likely the politicians will have their way, acting in the Public Interest.
ONCE AGAIN, WATCH THIS SPACE FOR FURTHER NEWS SOON!
EUROPEAN ADVOCACY UPDATE
Limitations on Cash Use in the European Union
A study carried out on behalf of the European Commission and finalised in early 2018, has confirmed that restrictions on payments in cash would not significantly prevent terrorism financing, although the same study indicated that such restrictions could be useful in combatting money laundering.
As a result of the finding in relation to terrorism, the Commission has decided not to pursue Europe-wide limitations on cash use at this stage.
You can read more here
So good news, but we will need to be alert that this issue may well come up again, given the comment on money laundering. We are in discussion with other interested parties in relation to further potential responses to the Commission.
Also, there has been no indication from the Commission that they will be asking national governments to desist in imposing their own limitatons on cash use. This will need to be discussed with the Commission in due course.
There are on-going discussions within LINK as to the appropriate level of scheme interchange that should apply to cash withdrawals and balance enquiries.
At least one Financial Institution that is a member of LINK is rumoured to want an average 20% reduction of interchange payable, to reduce their own outgoings.
Other members of LINK maintain that there is an established formula for the calculation of interchange and that a 20% reduction in the levels established by using this formula would result in many Free To Use ( non-surcharge) ATMs becoming uneconomic to operate.
Industry estimates are that as many as 8500 Independent Deployers ATMs may be deinstalled in the next 24 months should interchange be reduced by 20%. This amounts to about 1/3rd of the free Independent Deployers ATMs currently operated on the LINK network. In addition, there may well be many bank operated off-branch ATMs that will become uneconomic and need to be removed.
Removals of ATMs on the scale envisaged would severely damage the publics convenient access to cash and threaten financial inclusion. Almost everyone in the UK could be adversely effected but the impact would be particular keenly felt by those on lower incomes or state benefits, who use cash for almost all purchases and find that use a vital tool in their budgeting to live their lives from day-to-day.
The ATMIA is in discussion with a number of Association Members, the UK Government and Financial Services Regulators. The objective is to ensure that the LINK scheme continues on a basis that guarantees, at a minimum, maintenance of current levels of public access to cash and that the level of LINK interchange is set at levels which make the scheme sustainable on a long-term basis.
The ATMIA is working hard to ensure an outcome in the public interest and one that enhances the future role of ATMs and cash in the UK. Ron Delnevo was interviewed by Eddie Mair on BBC radio on 7 April. You can hear this here.
In November 2017 this threat re-emerged, with proposals that LINK interchange be reduced by 20%. This would put 20,000 + free UK ATMs at risk. The ATMIA judges this proposal to be as against the Public Interest.
The powerful Treasury Select Committee, the most important Back-Bench Committee of the UK Parliament, has asked for an Independent Inquiry into LINK issiues. Which?, the Association of Convenience Stores,the Federation of Small Businesses and ATMIA have all supported this request.
Though LINK at the end of January announced a 5% cut in interchange on 1 July 2018, the ATMIA continues to work to ensure a clear vision for the future of the LINK ATM NETWORK is put in place.
You can read more here, in an article by Ron Delnevo, ATMIA Executive Director Europe.
MORE ON THIS VERY SOON!
Business Rates on UK ATMs
An appeal to the UK Courts to stop the Valuation Office imposing Business Rates - a property tax - on off-branch ATMs has so far failed. It is likely that this case will be subject of a further appeal.
The ATMIA fully supports the appeal. This tax threatens the economic viability of thousands of Free-To-Use ATMs providing convenient access to cash in local communities around the UK. This in turn threatens Financial Inclusion, because those who have low incomes or receive State Benefits cannot afford to travel to get the cash the need to live their daily lives. Millions of British citizens, who use only cash to manage their personal finances, will naturally be the most badly disadvantaged if Free-To-Use ATMs vanish from their neighbourhoods.
There is now also a danger that Business Rates will be levied on Internal ATMs.
The ATMIA is in touch with interested parties in the UK to determine what the next steps should be. More will emerge on this subject during 2018 and the following years. It is definitely a long-term concern!
Ron Delnevo wrote to Sajid Javid, then the government minister responsible, on two occassions. As of end June, a meeting date is awaited.
Dynamic Currency Conversion
Debbie Smyth and Ron Delnevo, representing the ATMIA, met with the European Commission early in June 2018 to discuss Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC).
The ATMIA team were delighted to report that, whatever happens in relation to transparency, the Commission has decided not to ask for an interim cap on DCC.
The ATMIA will continue to work with the Commission on every aspect of DCC, with the objective of ensuring this service can continue to be offered at ATMs without the imposition of onerous regulations.
ATM DCC is already significantly more transparent than that offered at POS. The ATMIA believes that if the Commission feels it appropriate to review the workings of DCC at all, the review should focus on the POS situation.
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The ATMIA Europe Member of the Month for July 2018 is... National Bank of Greece!
National Bank of Greece was established in 1841 and was the first bank to be set up in the Modern Greek State, going on to play a key role in the economy of Greece throughout its 177-year history. Today NBG heads one of the largest financial groups in Greece, playing a key role in the efforts to support the Greek economy and the economic and social transformation of the country.
NBG offers a wide range of financial products and services that meet the ever evolving needs of private and business customers.
The Bank considers itself to be the preferred bank of families in Greece, as it controls 25% of the retail banking market. Its leading position in savings deposits reflects the trust of its customers who in essence comprise NBG's driving force.
With an extensive branch and ATM network comprised of over 542 branches and 1,466 ATMs, NBG covers the entire geographical area of Greece, while it has also developed state-of-the-art e-channels, including Mobile and Internet Banking. Today, NBG's international network includes 93 units, while the Group employs some 11,500 employees (as at 31 March 2018).
National Bank of Greece will be making a presentation at the ATM & Payments Innovation Summit in Madrid in October 2018, focusing on the excellent work the bank is doing to ensure access to cash - and therefore financial inclusion - is improved on the Greek Islands.
You can read more about this exceptional bank here
ATMIA Europe is very proud to have National Bank of Greece as a long-term member!
Contact Ron Delnevo, Executive Director Europe at email@example.com or +44 (0) 7973 210 154.
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