On March 12, the Americans with Disabilities Act’s new standards will become law. One section of the standards calls for new technical requirements for ATMs, including Braille instructions, speech output capabilities and specifications pertaining to keypad layout, display screen visibility and character size and font.
While all credit unions must ensure their ATMs comply with the new ADA mandates, some are going a step further by upgrading to image-enabled ATMs, increasing convenience for all members, not just those with disabilities.
Technology vendor Bluepoint Solutions Inc., which has more than 1,500 credit union clients, has seen an added interest in its ImagePoint ATM solution, the Vista, Calif.-based company’s chief marketing officer Andrew Tilbury said. The vendor’s ImagePoint ATM software works with image-enabled ATMs to scan the front and back of checks, spurring immediate item processing and reducing front- and back-office work for the institution.
“A lot of financial institutions think that since they have to do this ADA compliance work anyway, they might as well upgrade the technology of their ATMs,” Tilbury said. “We’re seeing a lot of interest in the technology but not a sense of urgency yet.”
XCEL Federal Credit Union, a $130.4 million CU based in Bloomfield, N.J., implemented Bluepoint Solutions’ ImagePoint ATM software in 11 of its 21 ATMs and is in the process of upgrading all of its ATMs to comply with the new ADA standards, Michael Mahiya, vice president and chief information officer, said. The credit union is also considering the addition of shared service deposit-taking capabilities, which would allow members of other credit unions to make deposits at XCEL ATMs.
Mahiya said the image-enabled ATMs provide three primary benefits: convenience for members who need to make quick check deposits, rapid check processing and reduced costs for the credit union.
“We wanted to make sure to provide the necessary means to complete daily transactions at our ATMs,” Mahiya said. “We went to the image-enabled ATMs because we wanted to provide members with deposit access when it was convenient for them. It helps us to improve our service. It also allows money to go into our members’ accounts much more quickly, so we felt it would speed up that process.”
To guarantee its new investment would reap benefits, XCEL FCU chose to install image-enabled technology at 11 ATM locations where members are most likely to make check deposits. For example, the CU upgraded two ATM locations that receive ample foot traffic: JFK Airport in Jamaica, N.Y., and Montgomery Street in Jersey City, N.J. Since the upgrades, use of these ATMs has skyrocketed, Mahiya said.
Tilbury said aside from eliminating manual ATM deposit processing work and speeding up the check clearing process, image-enabled ATM technology gives credit unions an edge in marketing their services and holds significant benefits for small business members.
“It has a big impact on people who deposit multiple checks, like merchants,” he said. “Since they don’t have to wait in a teller line, it gives them a later cutoff time for making deposits. Also, some credit unions have a small number of branches, so it allows them to have a footprint at their ATM locations, not just at their branches. And it communicates that they’re committed to implementing new solutions and sends a message of innovation.”