UOB rolls out 'cardless' ATMs

UOB will be rolling out cardless ATMs from next month, the bank said.
UOB will be rolling out cardless ATMs from next month, the bank said. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - UOB will roll out "cardless" Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) from next month so customers can withdraw cash with a tap of their smartphones and the push of a few buttons, the bank said on Tuesday.

The first of these machines, touted by UOB as Southeast Asia's first Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless ATM, will be operational at One Raffles Place by the end of October. 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. UOB Visa cardholders are expected to have the same access later in 2017.

The "cardless" ATMs eliminate the need for users to carry plastic around in their wallets. Instead, customers can withdraw cash by holding their phones to the ATM's NFC reader, and verifying their identities with a thumbprint. They then punch in their personal identification numbers and amount of cash requested the usual way, and the notes pop out.

By January next year, at least 60 such ATMs will be in operation. Customers can locate these cardless ATMs through the UOB Mighty App. By Dec 2018, all of UOB's current ATMs will be upgraded with the cardless feature.

The migration towards cardless ATMs is a global one, with banks across Europe, Australia, the United States and China launching similar services over the last few years. In 2011, Spanish bank La Caixa said it was the world's first bank to install "contactless" ATMs enabled with NFC technology.

Separately, UOB said that UOB cardmembers will enjoy instant digital credit card issuance through their smartphones through the UOB Mighty app by the end of October.

This way, UOB cardholders can take advantage of promotions specific to the credit card on the spot, or obtain a new card if they have misplaced it, the bank said.

The new service, available via the UOB Mighty app, is possible since the bank already possesses the personal data of existing customers that would be required when they sign up for a new card.

So new cards can be approved for use in five to 10 minutes, and payments made instantly at any merchant outlet with a 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."