November 26, 2006

Financial Service -- Hybrid ATM Kiosk machines

TIO with over 1,000 machines in Circle K and Exxon Mobil and running 850,000 transactions a month on its network is going to "branch out" into new hybrid ATM Kiosks. To date, diluting the ATM transaction with other services has proven problematic at best. Once heralded as the next mousetrap, it has gone by the wayside reduced to a yearly press release maybe on the now-old VCom and others. TIO has proven itself very resourceful and smart. It'll be interesting to see how they couple the two.


TIO Plans To Start Hybrid ATM-Kiosk Deployments by Start of ‘07

(November 22, 2006) The concept of an ATM that also serves as a kiosk for bill payment and other financial services may be getting closer to reality. TIO Networks Inc., a Burnaby, B.C.-based operator of bill-payment kiosks that serve primarily the underbanked, will begin deploying hybrid ATM-kiosk machines by the start of 2007, says John Lewis, business development executive for the company.

Lewis refuses to say where the new machines will be installed, citing “sensitivity” about their locations. Nor will he be specific about how many of the devices, which are being developed by ATM maker Tranax Technologies Inc., are in the plans. “We expect to see some pretty strong deployments early next year,” he says. TIO had expected to begin operating some 40 hybrid devices this spring in conjunction with ATM deployer Cardtronics Inc. (Digital Transactions News, March 2). The company has had to delay the project as it works through negotiations and waits for current ATM installation contracts at target locations to expire, Lewis says. “Everybody’s making money with their ATMs, so there’s some jockeying going on,” he notes. The company has also switched manufacturers since March, when it was working with Tidel Technologies Inc.

TIO currently drives about 1,000 kiosks hooked up in convenience stores that allow consumers to pay bills by inserting cash into a bill acceptor. TIO’s links to the accounting systems at utilities, telecommunications companies, and other billers—including Cingular Wireless and Qwest Communications—allow users to receive real-time electronic account updates. Merchants housing the machines include Circle K Stores Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp., which deployed 100 kiosks this fall in as many of its On the Run and Tigermarket stores in Texas. TIO also drives around 200 clerk-assisted bill-payment terminals.

Banks historically have shied away from dual-function ATM kiosks, fearing that customers wanting to withdraw from or deposit to accounts would grow frustrated while waiting for other people to complete bill payments or phone-card top-ups. At the same time, the two functions serve two often separate demographic groups. TIO’s kiosks are aimed largely at Hispanics, and draw mostly customers without bank accounts who do business in cash. By contrast, ATM users are generally accountholders at banks. But TIO, which earlier this year changed its name from Info Touch Technologies Corp., hopes the dual functionality could help it introduce its kiosks to users who might not have encountered them otherwise, allowing it to drive up usage faster. TIO charges a flat fee for bill payments, which it shares out to retailer and biller partners.

Currently, TIO is processing 850,000 transactions a month on its network. That volume is growing at a 10% rate quarter-to-quarter, Lewis says. How much of a difference the new hybrid machines might make, he says, is impossible to forecast. “It would be just some wild, crazy guess,” he says.

Posted by staff at November 26, 2006 08:05 PM