From specialized high-tech security features to electronic transfers, technology has a profound impact not only on banknotes, but also on everyday banking transactions. That technology continued to grow this week as Spanish bank La Caixa introduced the world to the contactless ATM.
Instead of inserting debit cards into a slot, customers using the machines simply need to wave their cards next to a reader and enter their PIN code to withdraw cash. Some customers will also be able to use their cellular phone in lieu of a debit card. La Caixa said the new machines were the “fastest ATM cash withdrawal system on the market.”
Currently, several contactless machines have been installed in Barcelona, Sitges and Mallorca with plans in the works to install similar machines across Catalonia and the Balearic Islands in the coming weeks, according to an article published by AFP.
With the new ATMs will also come new contactless payment cards, though you will still be able to use your regular debit card with the machines as well.
“The bank last month announced it would send out 130,000 Visa-branded contactless cards in May, apparently unsolicited, to customers on the Balearic Islands, most in Mallorca,” reported an NFC Times article. “It would also install contactless point-of-sale terminals at 5,000 merchant locations on the islands. The bank has a total 10.3 million cards on issue throughout Spain.”
The contactless ATMs, however, have only been equipped to service withdrawals. The machines are not currently capable of processing other transactions such as deposits, but La Caixa said those option will gradually be included over time.
La Caixa has some 8,000 automatic teller machines, making it the largest cash machine network in Spain and the second largest in Europe, said the AFP.