In 2022, visitors to the UK are expected to reach 21.1 million and spending to £16.9 billion, with tourism having recovered to two-thirds of the pre-pandemic volume by the end of the year1. But what does this have to do with ATMs? For ATM suppliers, tourism is the predominant way they can make money due to the additional handling charge that can be added on foreign exchanges. This means that ensuring cash machines are tourist-friendly is incredibly important, giving travellers positive experiences so that they recognise and trust your machines.
Whilst it may seem like it is only the ATM providers who benefit from transaction fees, using ATMs is also beneficial for tourists themselves because, after credit cards, ATMs typically offer the best exchange rates compared to options like foreign exchange centres.
Though tourists are incredibly reliant on ATMs, it is increasingly difficult to find reliable ATM access points in the UK, as ‘cash deserts’ mean rural areas and small towns have limited or no ATM access. This means visitors are having to withdraw large amounts of cash before heading out into the British countryside. ATMs providers can, therefore, benefit from placements in more touristic city areas and transport hubs that are likely to see footfall on the way to rural destinations. Due to the financial incentive of encouraging high-frequency withdrawals, suppliers that do have machines in popular rural destinations will benefit from the lack of competition.
So how do you encourage tourists to use your ATMs?
Predominantly, tourists are concerned about safety when using ATMs in foreign countries. They are likely to choose to use cash points that are outside banks, are bank-run, or that are placed in secure locations covered by CCTV. Placing your ATMs inside a shop or kiosk will offer a sense of security.
This is also where your brand comes into play. If your brand is recognised and respected, people are more likely to trust your ATMs, which is why banks are often preferred over independent providers. However, if you have offered a positive experience before, customers are more likely to choose your machine over an alternative. You are also more likely to get positive reviews that will influence other travellers.
ATMs should offer a range of language options to make accessing cash easy for tourists. Those that struggle with the language are more likely to trust these ATMs over others.
Options for different methods of exchange (a flat fee versus the daily rate) should also be transparent and clear. Customers won’t thank you for charging surprise extra fees and will blame you if they accidentally pick the wrong option, which will mean bad reviews and few repeat customers.
To attract tourists, you also need to think about the range of cards your ATM accepts. Whilst VISA and Mastercard schemes are commonly supported, by offering the acceptance of card schemes that are popular in foreign countries, such as Discover, UnionPay, and JCB, you will be giving your customers more choice in which account they want to withdraw from, as well as expanding the pool of people who can use your ATMs.
Exchange rates and extra costs should be fair and clearly stated. You don’t want tourists to feel ripped off, lest they complain about it online and avoid your machines. Expectation will vary depending on where the tourist is from, as countries such as France don’t charge for ATM withdrawals, whereas countries like Spain do. The safest option is to base your rates off your competition whilst factoring in how many alternative cash access points there are in the surrounding area.
How we can help:
At Cashflows, we support ATM providers through services such as BIN sponsorship, as well as supporting a range of card schemes, including Discover, JCB, and UnionPay. We can help your business, whether independent deployer or bank, to achieve more revenue quickly and save you money, time, and effort. If you’re just starting up, we can help you speed up the process, providing you with partners across the industry and ensuring you get the most out of your new venture. Contact us now to find out more.