When the supermarket becomes a bank

Fewer and fewer people use ATMs – you can withdraw money at the checkout in the supermarket.
Image: dpa

Branches are closing, ATMs are expensive: banks are now trying to make a virtue out of necessity and are offering more and more services at the checkout. But not all services are a bargain in the supermarket.

Dhe best ideas come to you in the bathtub. At least if the story of John Shepherd-Barron is to be believed. The Scot is considered to be the inventor of the ATM – the “only useful innovation in the financial sector for decades”, as the former head of the American Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, judged in 2009. Volcker was angry at the time because banks with high-risk products had brought the financial world close to the abyss. And yet the ATM is still the only physical contact with the bank for many consumers.

But not only are more and more branches closing, there are also fewer ATMs. This is also due to the fact that they are used less and less. ING recently determined that its customers went to an ATM 3.7 times a month in 2019. It’s now only 2.4 times a month. In addition, the machines are very expensive. A modern device costs the banks up to 25,000 euros a year, said Jürgen Gros, the former head of the Bavarian Cooperative Association, to which the Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken belong. Other calculations were much more conservative and only assumed 10,000 euros per year.

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