You can now pay at thousands of locations simply by tapping your credit or debit card in the right place. But did you know that this new technology will soon be coming to ATMs as well? In fact, 2016 is the year that near-field communication (NFC) gets rolled out to ATMs around the country. Where should you expect to see an NFC ATM and what does this mean for your banking life?
Your Phone Is Your New Debit Card
The idea for the new future is that you won’t even need your ATM card to get cash. All you’ll need is your NFC-enabled smartphone. This isn’t necessarily new. Spain has offered similar technology for the better part of this decade. However, in the United States, an NFC ATM is a rare occurrence indeed.
So how will it work? Well, if you can use your bank’s mobile app, you can use an NFC ATM. Nearly all mobile devices these days come equipped with NFC. This is how you’re able to touch and pay or send friends money simply by holding your phone near theirs. NFC ATMs simply bring this technology to your local ATM. While procedures will vary from one bank to another, the basic idea is that your app will handle the process of how to authenticate your identity before you take out cash. You’ll still be able to use your debit card, but your smartphone will offer another, often more convenient, opportunity.
This offers users distinct security advantages. It’s much more difficult to clone your smartphone than it is to swipe the information off of a card’s magnetic strip and cameras can’t swipe your PIN. In fact, some NFC ATMs will require a fingerprint to withdraw cash, making it harder than ever for thieves to snag your cash with high technology. Most likely, the bad guys will eventually catch up, but for a brief, shining moment, it’s going to be a time when the more convenient option is also the more secure one.
For the most part NFC ATMs are for a very small target audience, the same types of people who ran out and bought Apple Watches the week they came out. However, like many forms of innovative technology, the early adopters are just the first wave. Within five years’ time a phone without NFC ATM capabilities will be as archaic as a phone that only makes phone calls.