Cash Supply Rethought

Cash Supply Rethought

Credit cards, debit cards or apps such as TWINT – cashless payments today are diverse, secure, user-friendly, quick and often digital. The use of cash is on the decrease. This trend is now accelerating even more due to COVID-19. As a result of the lockdown, the number of cash transactions has dropped almost by half. This poses a challenge to Swiss banks operating ATMs.

As the use of cash is decreasing, it is becoming more difficult for banks to guarantee the efficient operation of ATMs. This is because due to high infrastructure expenses, the costs per cash transaction will keep increasing. We must therefore support banks with targeted measures to ensure efficient cash supply in Switzerland in the long term.

Multivendor Software Implemented Across

Switzerland The first step into this direction was made when the Multivendor Software (MVS) was successfully introduced in September 2020. A total of almost 6,000 ATMs were migrated to a uniform software program based on the specifications of Swiss banks. Among other benefits, the uniform user interface constitutes a direct advantage to end users. SIX now processes all transactions and entries to ATMs, supporting banks in monitoring and managing their devices. 

The monitoring can be outsourced to SIX either partially as Software as a Service (SaaS) or completely. Additional SaaS solutions will allow SIX to industrialize other parts of operations and take over the processes from banks in the short and mid-term, be it cash, incident or hardware management.

Need for Higher Capacity

However, this is only a part of the solution for a more efficient cash supply. In addition, ATMs should be better used to their capacity, i.e. the transaction volume per ATM should increase. Having 2.16 ATMs per square kilometer of residential area, Switzerland is significantly above the European average of 0.93 ATMs. Therefore, it is possible to reduce the number of ATMs in Switzerland by approx. 2,500 without losing service. Having conducted comprehensive discussions with banks, SIX is going to carry out a proof of concept with various stakeholders in the second quarter of 2021. Its aim is to check the impact of the temporary reduction in the number of ATMs with low transaction volumes and the optimization of local cash cycle.

In the long term, it is expected to provide a comprehensive model covering the entire operational and value chain. For banks, “ATM as a Service” is a practical option to help:

  • save costs thanks to outsourcing and thus reduce the total “ATM cycle cost”,
  • improve the quality of services thanks to highly specialized professionals,
  • focus on the core business and outsource non-strategic activities.

Innovative, efficient and future-oriented cash supply and disposal models can only be implemented if all market participants are involved, such as banks, retailers and end consumers. As a central service provider on the financial market, SIX coordinates various concerns of market participants. Only this approach will ensure a synced process to successfully redimension services and nationwide cash availability across Switzerland.