Economy, Business And Markets

Will ATMs Die?

Will ATMs Die?Will ATMs Die?

Automated Teller Machine or ATM has entered its third decade of presence in Iran. Bank Sepah, the very first Iranian bank, was the first to introduce the machine in 1992 by installing it in its central branch in Tehran, issuing 100 debit cards for its managers to get cash from the ATM.

ATMs could initially dispense cash but they soon solidified their position in the daily life of Iranians. The growing public interest and exigencies in the banks prompted the bank mangers to start a serious competition and increase the number of ATMs in their branches.

According to a report by, analysts believe that ATMs will soon join history as new technologies are entering the banking industry; however, many still believe that people will not stop using cash and therefore ATMs will continue to live as long as the need for cash persists.

Statistics by the Central Bank of Iran indicate that in the current Iranian year (ending March 20, 2015), the number of ATMs has soared to 38,000 while the number of debit cards stands at 307 million. The gap has prompted some analysts to argue that the number of ATMs could increase in the future.

Under global standards, there should be one ATM per 1,500 debit cards, a figure which stands at 5,600 in Iran.

Some experts argue that over 3 million point-of-sales (POS) terminals along with 13,000 online portals which are already available across the country have filled the gap between Iranian and global standards.

In the first half of the year, more than 614.5 million POS transactions were registered in the country, the report says. That means, according to, that cash is going to disappear in the near future.

To keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape in the banking industry, ATMs have also evolved adding several features to their services including processing checks and depositing.

In Iran, it is important to take into account technological advancements, while thinking of new ATMs. For instance, the report says, the growing use of mobile phones, equipped with NFC necessitates closer attention to the way banking hardware is updated.

However, despite new technologies being applied in the industry, reports show people across the world still prefer cash in many cases. This underlines the need for the Iranian banks, to focus both on increasing the number of ATMs and updating and diversifying the type of services customers can receive.

Certain features and services such as the ability to deposit money via ATMs, cashing checks, and issuing gift-cards can serve as major steps forward, the report suggests.