Wells Fargo recently reported a total of 100 billion paperless ATM transactions since it began offering its paper-free option in 2009. Saving FIs money, creating less paper waste, and adding convenience for consumers who prefer to conduct and track expenses and withdrawals on their laptop or tablet are all attractive motivations for moving away from paper. Even so, there remain a number of reasons some consumers still prefer paper ATM receipts.
Familiarity and tangibility are important for some people. Paper can be placed in a file and referred to at a later date. And for some consumers, paper ATM receipts are considered to be less susceptible to hacking and tampering than digital systems.
As a recent ATM Marketplace article points out, digital systems are far from perfect. “Let’s consider the worst case scenario — with all digital recordings of bank statements wiped out, a paper statement would be the best way to validate one’s existing balance,” writes Mike Andrews, VP of sales and marketing, Graphic Tickets & Systems.
For ATM operators that continue to offer paper receipts, Andrews suggests they make the most of them with these tips:
- Use thermal paper — Thermal paper is superior to regular bond paper in a number of ways. It cuts down on maintenance and ink use.
- Quality counts — Keep in mind the cost and down time that can result from loading inferior paper (even thermal) into your machine. Make sure to use paper that fits “the specifics of your machine.”
- Negotiate with your paper supplier — Discounts are often offered, so don’t be afraid to hammer out the best deal possible. Look at suppliers who’ve been in the business long enough to “anticipate price changes and help customers prepare ahead of time.”
- Use the receipt to your advertising advantage — The back of the ATM receipt is a non-invasive place to advertise your FI and its products and services. Printing costs for this are typically minimal.
There’s no doubt that increased digitalization is affecting paper’s role in the financial industry. However, paper ATM receipts aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. In the meantime, be smart about how this mainstay piece of communication can benefit both the consumer and your FI.