back to article Australian bank to run trial with human teller in ATM

Australian banks may soon be rolling out new video-enabled ATMs which allow consumers to video-chat "live" with remote bank tellers. The manufacturer of the video terminals, NCR Corporation, has confirmed that a "major Australian financial institution" is currently preparing for a consumer trial. "One Australian financial …


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  1. stefan 5
    Thumb Up

    Most stupid thing i have ever heard.

    Thanks for making me laugh today.

  2. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    Oh great

    Another opportunity for some munter to take hours at the ATM when those in the queue behind just want to get some fucking money out! If you want a full service go to the fucking bank!


  3. Anonymous Coward

    But that's why I use an ATM

    To avoid the hassle of having to be nice and be sociable with a person, and to avoid the huge lines because they only staff one or two of the 16 teller windows.

    Plus in the US, you've been able to deposit cash or checks without an envelope for a while now. You even get a little scanned image of the check on your receipt if you want it. (You can even deposit a photo of a check from your smartphone, but that's not ATM-related)

    And initiating a loan?? Are you f*cking kidding? What about all the other poor bastards in line waiting to use the ATM? Even without pandering to the idiots, some people can make an ATM session last 10 minutes.

    Hopefully this trial fails...

    1. ArmanX

      I could see this as a secondary unit...

      There's the ATM, if you just want to grab some cash from your account, or there's the HTM (human teller machine) if you want to do other banking-related stuff, like getting a loan. Replacing the ATM outright would be a bad idea... but, adding an HTM would mean fewer actual employees at a bank, and it would be great on college campuses.

      1. Annwyn

        RE: I could see this as a secondary unit...

        These would also be great for rural communities that the banks have removed their branches from because it's not cost effective.

    2. The BigYin

      This is not...

      ...intended to replace ATMs. It;s intended to replace actual tellers so that their jobs can be outsourced to a cheaper country.

      I do not look forward to this at all.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Typical transaction

    Teller: Good morning, how may I help you?

    Customer: Can I please make a withdrawal of $100

    Teller: Hahahahahha.. no, you're skint. Piss off.

    1. Zero Sum

      No, this is in Australia

      Actually, as it's in Australia, it would likely be more like this:

      Teller [In Indian call centre]: G'day, how may I help you?

      Customer: [Holds up note that reads] I've got a gun. Give me all the money!

      Teller: [Murmurs to self] ...

      1. SisterClamp

        Teller then says...

        ...[after flicking hopelessly through 3-ring binder] Hold on, I'll get my supervisor

  5. mark 63 Silver badge

    phone banking

    is this for people without telephones?

    I hope its gonna work bettet than that box outside the mcdonalds drive-thru

  6. Ru

    You all misunderstand

    When the bank staff can be located anywhere, you can go to some godforsaken second world backwater with cheap labour like India or Mexico or Glasgow and employ your tellers there.

    You can afford to employ many more staff, and yet still run everything cheaper by firing all your existing ones.

    What, you didn't think this was for the consumer's benefit, did you?

  7. Kathode Ray

    bin there dun dat

    The Co-op bank did this in the 90s

  8. Tom Wood


    it will let me do a bunch of stuff I can already do at an ATM, or another bunch of stuff that I can already do online or via the phone to a more-or-less real person in a call centre in Bangalore/Bradford/wherever.

    And the advantage is what, exactly? Do you really want to be able to see the person working in the call centre?

  9. BorkedAgain

    Is it just me?

    ...or does anyone else want the remote teller's cubicle to be done up to look like the inside of the ATM? That'd be sweet...

  10. FanMan

    Great idea

    What a great idea: virtual staff presence. Now if they could just roll the concept out across the City they could do away with all these commuter trains.

  11. Dale 3

    speak to live tellers via touch screens

    If you would like to make a deposit, touch my nose. If you would like to check your balance, touch my left ear. If you would like to make a deposit, poke me in the eye...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought similar...

      Although my brain saw a female teller and something along the lines of "sir, please stop touching my boobs".

      I also imagined the local sleazes wandering past the ATM and asking it how it's goin', complete with a little wink.

    2. TonyJ_Stirling

      Prosthetic required...

      If you would like to make a withdrawal, I'll poke YOU in the eye!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ATMs to take even longer?

    Bad enough waiting in queue for the skint / dodgy person trying 5 different cards to lift a tenner out!

    Bad enough that the ATM takes at least 30 seconds after the person has left the ATM to allow the next person to insert their card!

    Bad enough that the ATM does that fake "shuffling" before giving you your hard earned cash.

    Bad enough that ATMs only allow a limit of £250-£300 to be lifted, which is no use for buying spur of the moment cheap cars.

    Now we have to contend with the drunk person in front of you having a conversation with a teller, giving some abuse, before lifting their £20 for the kebab and taxi home?

  13. CD001


    but I WANT a goddamned brain in a goddamned jar serving me!

  14. DrXym Silver badge

    History repeating

    20 years ago when ISDN was all the rage they were piloting crap like this - video phones, remote learning, kiosks, banks etc. Then it turned out people don't actually like talking to each other much over a video screen so the whole petered out. Yet here we are again.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    I for one...

    ... will deputise a humanoid robot to interact remotely for me with that ATM. No need to get out of the house that way, you see.

    Coat? Hang it on the robot will you, there's a good lad.

  16. graeme leggett

    Out of hours banking?

    When the doors are shut you could still speak to some human, rather than hanging on a telephone for which you are paying. You can also look them in the eye and get an advantage over dealing with a call centre drone to whom you are nothing more than a disembodied voice. That "call me John" bit won't work either if they're obviously from Bangalore.

    And if this is for Australia it might be more for remote locations than the high street after chucking out time.

  17. James Woods

    those silly aussies

    NCR must really have some good salespeople. They could sell heat in the dessert to these people.

    This is like here in the US my state came up with the wise idea of vending wine from machines (previously only possible in government ran liquor stores).

    The machines all had live people waiting to look at you and verify the transaction via a video link.

    End result? It took I believe 16+ machines in various locations to sell the same amount as one liquor store. Turns out studies were done by the state ahead of time warning of such things but hey it's a contractors paradise.

    The contractor is suing the state now for backing out of future orders of the machines.

  18. The Cube

    So disappointing - I read the title to mean a human teller in the ATM

    I had a vision of some unfortunate Aussie locked up in an ATM unit mounted in a wall somewhere yelling obscenities at the yoofs pissing in his envelope slot.

    I hope they are air-conditioned ATM boxes, perhaps they will have a beer cooler built in?

  19. pakraticus

    A credit union in North Carolina has been doing this for years...

    First it was video link and pneumatic tube because "There have been so many bank robberies in the area." And my response was "And it's all been some rather shafty banks and no credit unions."

    Then it was check reader and cash dispenser.

    I'd say it's a tossup if it improved things. Tellers are now available 7AM to 7PM 7 days a week "Unless it's a bank holiday". There is a branch manager available during normal banking hours for the more complicated account related work. And in full branches there is additional staff to handle the long drawn out things like loans and investment accounts and public notary and odd currency (IE bundle of 2 dollar bills, or roll of dollar coins). Wait time for the odd stuff is shorter. Wait time for a teller is generally shorter. But the tellers aren't as pretty as they used to be and I can't ogle their assets.

  20. Chad H.

    Which Bank?

    Sorry, I had to ask

    (And you'll only get it if you're Australian)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Family guy did it!

    Family guy already did it!

    To Love and Die in Dixie -- the locals "just take turns bein the ATM"

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Completely Brainless Arsehole Bank(ing)

    Wonder if this is the same damn bank we had where $AU 30k was stolen from our 2 accounts when we lived there in 2009? Sure would have been nice as the idiots running thatbankhad ZERO fraud prevention, even though the cloned/false card was used 60 fucking times in the same fuckingmachine.

    Perhaps with a Calibre Based Attendant, they'd have shot the fuckers

    We had no end of fighting to get our dish back so when we gotourmoney back, we decided bank elsewhere!

    But being OZ, home of the thick it's just PR stunt!

  23. StuartMcL

    Which Bank?

    as a bumper sticker on my mate's car says:

    Who cares, they're all b*st*rds!

  24. Anonymous Coward

    And if it works out, they will consider...

    Putting rows of these humans behind a counter in a building open to customers.

    It could lead to considerable savings on hardware.

  25. Captain DaFt

    It's come full cicle, kind of.

    The first ATM machines in the US had a virtual person in them!

    It seems that the First national Bank of Atlanta was worried that people would shy away from the new -fangled machines in preference to actual tellers, So they Invented "Tillie The All Time Teller" as a persona for their machines.

    It worked, i guess, within a few years all the banks had ATMs and Tillie was retired. (Hm, I wonder if she's looking a job? If she is, Oz might be a great opportunity!)

  26. Skydreamer
    Thumb Down

    More branch closures predicted?

    In Australia, banks love to close branches -- so some remote communities have no local bank at which to queue for teller service. This may let them close more branches and get around some bank charter clause like "must have a branch-like service within 500km of a client" or whetever...

  27. Martin Budden

    Would it be illegal use a human-ATM here in Australia and wave my willy at the operator located in India?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Depends entirely on whether the ATM is 18 years old or not.... Or something like that.

  28. ChrisStephenson

    Why is technology uptake so slow in "The West"?

    I guess Australia counts as "the west".

    I live in Turkey. My ATM lets me withdraw and deposit 3 currencies (Turkish Lira, Euro, Dollar). True, I can only withdraw *coins* in local currency. Deposits have been "without an envelope" for so long I can't remember when it started. And the money is credited to my account immediately, not next day. So I can put in a hard-to-change 200TL note and get change. I can use the machine without a card, for many operations, verifying by mobile phone. I can pay a bill (even my friend's electricity bill) in cash and get change to the last cent. I can send money to someone without a bank account (they need a mobile phone - but everyone here has one)

    An interbank money transfer takes around 30 seconds, and shows up in the recipients bank account (depending on bank) maybe ten minutes, maybe a couple of hours later. All ATMs accept all banks' cards (requirement imposed by the Central Bank - there is a fee). In the UK they are just starting "fast" bank transfers that take only a day. Still many transfer take *three days*.

    Turkey's Central Bank, by the way, is a near to 100% Free Software operation. Even the desktops are Linux.

    ATMs are not only located in bank branches. Local councils set up ATM parks in convenient street spaces and rent out slots in them to banks. This keeps the queues down.

    The ATM machines (and the Central Bank's interbank system) are made by the usual manufacturers. So machines that can do all this are available worldwide. The interesting question is why are these facilities not used in what you might expect to be more "advanced" economies?

    1. Cameron Colley

      That's becase banks in "The West" are not run for our benefit.

      There's no point making things more convenient for the customer if it costs the bank more -- banks are there to make as much money of the population of the country as they can while providing as little in the way of service as they can.

      We're not some kind of communists you know!!

  29. Michael Kean

    Well, they could just install...


  30. Michael Dunn


    I always thought there was a little man inside counting out the notes - that's why I invariably say "Thank you" as I leave the machine.

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