Everyone of you would have surely heard of Automatic Teller Machines & would have used one at least once. I use ATMs almost 2-3 times a week & find it frustrating that I have to navigate through a whole lot of screens to withdraw a small amount of cash. This blog post is an attempt to suggest a new user interface to ‘get things done’ faster & leave way for others.

Existing Screens

When you enter an ATM, you pop in your card in the card slot and then go through the following screens (or minor variations of them):

  1. Select language of choice.
  2. Enter your PIN.
  3. Next screen contains a slew of options such as Balance Enquiry, Mini Statement, PIN change, Cash Withdrawal, Fast Cash, Cheque Book Request etc.
  4. You select “Cash Withdrawal”
  5. You have to select whether its Savings Account or Current Account.
  6. Enter the amount in multiples of 100.
  7. Answer whether you require a printed receipt
  8. Wait for cash
  9. Answer whether you wish to do another transaction (“Yes” takes you to step 2).
Most people I know go to ATM to do one of the following 3 things:
  1. Withdraw Cash
  2. Balance Enquiry
  3. Mini Statement

New Screen Proposal

As soon as you enter your PIN in step 2, you should be directly taken to step 6. Since there are 4 buttons to the left and right of the screen, they could be used to provide other options. The four buttons on the left could contain Balance Enquiry, Mini Statement, Fast Cash & More…

This has lot of benefits:

  1. The amount of time being spent in the ATM to withdraw cash comes down drastically. To perform the 9 steps above, it takes approximately 3 minutes (counted yesterday). For aged people & new comers, it would take even more. So, during peak hours, if a huge crowd is waiting outside, imagine the time it would take for the last guy in the queue to get cash quickly. Now, jumping from step 2 to 6 in two screens will take less than a minute and things can happen quickly.
  2. Most new comers are intimidated at the number of options that are being shown. The data stored in the bank’s servers could be used to eliminate screen 5.
  3. A new option containing the language can also be stored in the bank’s backend so that screen 1 can be removed for further transactions from the same ATM card.
  4. Similarly, in step 6, since the ATM accepts only amount entered in multiples of 100, it needn’t display the last “.00”. For e.g. if you need to take Rs. 500, you have to enter ‘5’ followed by four zeros. I have personally helped an old person who couldn’t understand why the ATM wouldn’t dispense cash even though he entered ‘3’ ‘0’ ‘0’. On the screen, it showed as “3.00” and he couldn’t see the ‘.’ clearly. That is pretty bad from the usability point of view.
  5. Further, ATMs can have touch screens (State Bank of India has this). Touch screens are more usable than pressing mundane buttons on the screen. 
Do you agree with the points above? Please let me know if this can be suggested to banks. 

3 Responses to “User Interface of ATMs can be improved”

  1. Jaskirat Says:

    Hell yeah ! :)

  2. Yusuf Motiwala Says:

    Agree, I never understood the logic behind fraction part in the amount.

  3. Farting Pen Says:

    I totally agree. Why should ATMs have the option of a ‘.’ at all? Not like someone would use an ATM to withdraw one rupee for buying a Boomer. About the touch screen, I don’t understand how SBI ATMs have them while the ‘new age’, ‘yuppy generation’ ATMs are still so old school. The savings/current accnt option should definitely be done away with. I particularly remember a rather embarrassing incident that happened to me a while back.