27 Jan Why managing ATM location data is critical for banks
Even with the rise of Bitcoin and digital currency, people still like cold hard cash. And that’s not likely to change any time soon. Since banking customers will continue to rely on ATMs to withdraw cash, ATMs will remain a critical part of the banking future. Unfortunately, managing ATM location data is a nightmare for most banking institutions.
The challenge of managing ATM location data
Managing the location data for ATMs poses a myriad of problems.
First, ATMs are often located inside of other buildings. This makes verifying an ATM’s map pin placement extremely difficult.
For most industries, it’s relatively easy to verify map pin placement. You simply go into Google Street View and look at the sign on the building. But if you have an ATM located inside of a Walmart, and there’s another big box store across the street, it can be hard knowing which location has the ATM. This problem gets amplified when the ATM is inside the lobby of a skyscraper or in a shopping mall.
Making matters worse is the fact that you don’t have a phone number to verify an ATM’s location. Sure, the ATM will come with a 1-800 number. But dialing it will only connect you with a call center full of people who have never been to the location.
Compounding the issue further is that many ATMs are owned by third-party networks. Since the banks don’t own the location data, they must rely on these third parties to provide accurate information. This doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately, even after you fix a specific location data error, it’s likely that the third party will keep sending you the same bad data.
Finally, ATMs yield low profits. They’re needed for customer service, but their location data is a major hassle to clean up and maintain for a low return on investment. As such, it would be easy to neglect managing the location data for your ATMs.
But that would be a huge mistake.
Why managing ATM location data is important
Managing the location data for your ATMs is critical. After all, there’s no quicker way to anger your customers than by sending them to ATM location, only to find that it isn’t there.
But ATMs also play an important role in marketing. A robust ATM presence on digital maps makes customers feel like they’ll be able to find cash whenever they need it. You can be certain that before new customers sign on with your bank, they will conduct a local search in their area to examine your coverage.
Finally, ATMs will increasingly replace branches going forward. Banks, in an effort to keep branch costs down, are beginning to introduce sophisticated ATMs to automate their branch services. For example, these new machines allow you to exchange currency and use video screens to connect customers with virtual tellers. As these ATMs replace branches going forward, it will become even more important that ATM location data is accurate and timely.
3 Tips for managing ATM location data
How should banks get a handle on their ATM location data?
1. Start by establishing your location database as the single source of truth for all ATM data. This database will serve as your yardstick to measure the bad data that inevitably gets created in the local search ecosystem. While you can’t control the quality of the data that third parties send you, you can control the quality of the data you post on your ATM locator. That’s why diligently maintaining your source-of-truth ATM database is so critical.
2. As for cleaning up your ATM location data, one of the best ways to do so is to make a note where each ATM is located. For example, if it’s inside of a Walmart or in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, note it. Simply describing where the ATM is will save you maintenance and headaches going forward.
3. Inevitably you won’t be able to visually verify the ATM on the map. In such cases, pick up the phone and call the building you think it’s inside of. Again, calling the ATM’s 1-800 number won’t do you any good, but it’s likely that the building’s employees will know if there’s an ATM inside.
Build your own location data platform or ask for third-party help
The truth is, managing the location data for ATMs is one of the most challenging location data feats of any industry. There’s no good way to do it, unless you build a location data management platform or partner Ignite’s Placeable team to manage your location data for you.