UOB to beef up its 'cardless' ATMs

The first of UOB's new contactless ATMs will be installed at One Raffles Place by the end of next month, with more becoming operational over the next two years.
The first of UOB's new contactless ATMs will be installed at One Raffles Place by the end of next month, with more becoming operational over the next two years.PHOTO: UOB

Customers can get cash by waving phones over contactless reader

United Overseas Bank (UOB) is expanding its "cardless" ATM offering next month so that customers can withdraw cash with just a wave of their smartphones and the push of a few buttons.

The first of the machines, touted by UOB as South-east Asia's first Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless ATM, will be operational at One Raffles Place by the end of next month, with at least 60 up and running by January.

Usage will be limited to customers with MasterCard credit and debit cards on Apple Pay. Android phone users will have access to the service by January next year, using the UOB Mighty app rather than Apple Pay. UOB Visa cardholders will have to wait until later in 2017.

Cardless ATMs mean that customers do not have to carry plastic around in their wallets. Instead, they can withdraw cash by holding their phones to the ATM's NFC reader the same way they would wave their cards when using Visa payWave or MasterCard PayPass, and verifying their identities with a thumbprint. They then punch in their personal identification numbers and amount of cash requested the usual way.

Customers can locate the cardless ATMs through the UOB Mighty app. By December 2018, all of UOB's ATMs will be upgraded with the cardless feature, the bank said yesterday.

Previously, UOB cardholders were able to make cardless withdrawals of up to $100 from ATMs using the UOB Mighty app. The new roll-out raises that limit to $3,000 per day.

The migration towards cardless ATMs is a global one, with banks across Europe, Australia, the United States and China having launched similar services over the past few years.

UOB also said yesterday that its cardmembers will be able to get instant digital credit card issuance through their smartphones through the UOB Mighty app by the end of next month. This way, UOB cardholders can take advantage of promotions specific to the credit card on the spot, or obtain a new virtual card if they have misplaced it, the bank said.

The new service will be possible as the bank already possesses the personal data of existing customers that would be required when they sign up for a new card.

New cards can be approved for use in five to 10 minutes, and payments made instantly at any merchant outlet with an NFC reader, said Mr Aaron Chiew, head of mobile, payments and digital sales at UOB. He said the bank's two new initiatives seek to make things more convenient for customers: "We want to make wallets thinner because everyone in Singapore carries six or seven cards."

Singapore has seen other ATM innovations. Last month, POSB launched what it said was Singapore's first video teller machine. The machine provides round-the-clock branch banking services to customers, with the option of "face-to-face" assistance from tellers via live video streaming. In January, POSB launched talking ATMs to assist those with visual disabilities and elderly users with failing eyesight.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'UOB to beef up its 'cardless' ATMs'. Print Edition | Subscribe