Am I Wrong, Or Does Cardless ATM Banking Sound Like More Trouble Than It’s Worth?

Either I need to try it myself or somebody needs to dumb the concept down even more for me, because this cardless ATM thing sounds like it would kind of be a pain in the arse.

Here’s how cardless cash machines work at Wintrust:

Consumers can use their Wintrust mobile app to preset how much money they want to withdraw from the ATM on future visits. Once they arrive at the ATM, they sign into the mobile banking app on their phone with their four-digit password. On the phone, they select the cardless cash option, which then opens the smartphone’s camera. Then, on the ATM screen, the customer touches the “cardless cash” button, which creates a QR code, a square matrix-style bar code. Customers hold their smartphones over the QR code on the ATM screen, tap submit, and the ATM dispenses their cash. The receipt heads straight to the phone.
The consumer only needs to touch the ATM once — to pick the “cardless cash” option. The withdrawal takes about 10 seconds, compared with about 40 seconds for a traditional ATM withdrawal, Wintrust said.

Right off the bat, this sounds wrong. Wouldn’t you actually have to touch the machine twice? Once to select the option and then again to pull your cash out of it? Admittedly that one’s a bit of a nitpick, but I bring it up because they’re already over selling the convenience factor just a little.

Speaking of the convenience factor, how is having to take the time to pull out my phone and then open and log into an app with my banking password any more convenient than rummaging through my wallet for my bank card?

But the bigger issue, or at least one of them, is why would you bother to preset the amount you want to withdraw? Not sure about you guys, but these days if I need to pull cash out at all it’s never a constant amount. It’s what I owe somebody I can’t pay online or over the phone, either that or whatever I think I might need for a trip to someplace like a concert or a baseball game where dead tree money makes it easier to pay for beer, snacks or merch. This isn’t 15 or 16 years ago when I didn’t have a credit card and a place having debit wasn’t a sure thing so I often would grab $40 or $60 to use as walking around money. Presets now would be more of a hindrance than a help.

And then there’s the lord, this is gonna suck for the blind guy factor. What might take most people the 10 seconds they tout here is likely going to take me substantially longer for a few reasons.

All bank machines are different, for a start. My bank’s are different than your bank’s which are different from the one’s at Jim’s bank and so on and so on. I’m not using the machines at your bank or Jim’s bank very often, so I’m not going to be memorizing where the handy cardless cash button is. That leaves me two options should I ever happen to find myself having to use one of them, which I will. I can either spend far more than 10 seconds looking for help that I don’t think will rob me, or I can plug headphones into the machine if it has the talking option and let it guide me to that point, which I assure you will be more than a 10 second process.

Once I’ve managed to do one of those things, we arrive at the camera problem. Yes, ATM screens are pretty small, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to get the full code into the camera’s field of view on my first try or even my second. And even if I do, how am I going to know that? Does the submit button only appear or become mashable once the app sees exactly what it needs? Will there be some sort of audible or vibration cue to let me know I’ve done it properly so that I don’t have to keep flicking around the screen, likely jiggling the camera and slowing myself down in the process?

I love the security benefits (at least until the crooks inevitably find new holes), but the logistics seem a little sketchy. If we get this up here I’d be curious to try it out, but unless it blows my mind I’m probably sticking with the good old bank card.

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