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Self-Service and ATMs Hold Sway Post-Pandemic

While the COVID-19 situation worldwide has not ended, some clear trends are beginning to form due to the pandemic response. Rapidly accelerated acceptance of digital and self-service banking is just one of the behaviors affected by the past eighteen months.

But when most people think about self-service banking, they think about mobile applications. Or they consider person-to-person payment systems like Venmo. Indeed, both items have seen significant benefits from being contact-free options for sharing funds, saving money, and making financial moves without the risk of in-person interactions.

What would you say if we told you ATMs have also become an essential piece of that self-service landscape?

We’ve all heard the stories about how ATMs and cash are on the way out. People don’t even use those gray boxes, right? Just like branches, right? But we already know the “death of the branch” is entirely bogus. The same can be argued of the ATM.



In pre-pandemic times people already sounded the death knell for cash and the ATM. But here are some quick pre-pandemic facts:

  • 17% of consumers considered ATM access (whether surcharge-free or rebated) a must-have for their banking needs.
  • Nearly a quarter (25%) of individuals actively looking to switch financial institutions used ATMs at least weekly.
  • Nearly half of all transactions under $25 and 60% of those under $10 were paid in cash.
  • Millennials see the ATM as central to how they manage their money and go about their daily lives.
  • 46% of Millennials who moved their checking accounts to other financial institutions from 2016-2018 did so to access surcharge-free ATMs.

But that was before the world was turned upside down. People were still working in the office. No one was wearing masks or worried about the contact spread of a novel coronavirus. So, what about…

Chart of Different Generations Likelihood to Use Negative Descriptions About Their Own Generation



The pandemic created a quarantine environment long enough to help consumers significantly change many rarer behaviors into actual habits. For instance, online shopping has seen a significant and permanent boost. Personal care, electronics, and furniture are just a few of the online businesses that have seen a substantial increase in online ordering.

Digital and mobile banking platforms similarly benefited from the enforced at-home orders. But ATMs, rather than suffering from their location out-of-home, profited from their ability to provide account access through self-service. Here are some quick post-pandemic facts:

  • 26% of Millennials and 24% of Gen Z still prefer using ATMs (or ITMs) as one of the main ways to open deposit accounts.
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of Gen Z consider an extensive ATM network one of their main reasons for choosing a primary financial institution.
  • 19% of consumers increased their use of ATMs due to the pandemic.

ATMs were a lifeline for many as a destination and practical account access point. And, with their ever-expanding functionality, ATMs were able to help address service needs while many were unable to have direct contact with a teller. In addition, the more advanced ITMs helped expand that service offering even further by offering the ability to speak to representatives in real-time.

Tout Your Convenience

With so much reliance on self-service account access, it has become even more critical to make sure account holders can easily find the best system to meet their individual needs. Credit unions and banks using branch and ATM locators like the Wave2 locator provide a convenient and easy-to-use way for account holders to locate self-service access like ATMs quickly.

This interactive system helps users determine the most convenient locations based on their exact specifications. Whether it’s video teller services, deposits, surcharge-free, or something more complicated, account holders can pick from a list of options and find the closest ATM or ITM that can meet their exact needs.

And, in a post-pandemic world, that easy-to-find self-service access is precisely what people are looking for in a primary financial institution.

Find out how the Wave2 locator can help your financial institution with all of these issues and more!

Wave2 Contact:
Jason Green, Co-Founder
Schedule a Demonstration & Discussion