Debit Cards Could Become Thing Of The Past As Wells Fargo Launches New ATM Technology

Where would we be without ATMs? These devices that provide instant access to vast amounts of our worth truly do make modern living possible. Out the door and on your way to a concert? Better get cash first for merchandise. Taking the kids to a fair or other festival? Bring money to buy the snacks they’ll inevitably ask for. On vacation in a city you’ve never visited before. Best have cash on hand in case of an emergency.

Now imagine for a moment where you’d be without a way to tap into your funds via an ATM. “In a bind” may be putting it lightly. Although these devices can be found in just about every convenience store today, there’s one critical component to using one: Not forgetting your wallet or purse at home. To address such a common mistake, Wells Fargo is leading the charge for card-less ATMs that allow users who don’t have their debit card on them to still get cash as easy as they would with their bank card in their possession.

The new initiative in the realm of ATM services was revealed in March 2017. Basically, it works like this: Bank members who have mobile application installed on their smart phones can use the card-free ATM access option and receive an eight-digit code to enter into the ATM. The security of the transaction is buffeted by a 30-minute limit before the code expires and users having to enter their PIN number as usual.

“Blending our mobile and ATM channels represents the natural evolution of account access,” Wells Fargo’s ATM and branch banking chief recently told The Financial Brand for an article exploring the technology and possible concerns.

According to The Financial Brand, this type of technology has seen success overseas and dates back to at least 2011. While card-less transactions have found footing in Australia, Poland and Spain, other U.S. institutions such as Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase have all announced plans to follow in Wells Fargo’s footsteps.

“At Wells Fargo, we believe the future is card-less, and the launch of One-Time Access Code provides our 20 million mobile banking customers another convenient way to manage money,” echoed Brett Pitts, head of digital for Virtual Channels, in a March 27, 2017 press release announcing the effort – which also sees Wells Fargo tout mobile banking as its fastest-growing sector.

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