Aust company launches wireless ATM

A wireless ATM that uses a GPRS network connection was launched today by the independent Australian ATM transaction processor EFTEX in conjunction with the mobile phone company Vodafone.Traditionally ATMs specific to the various financial institutions are run using a leased line, which provides speed and security.

A wireless ATM that uses a GPRS network connection was launched today by the independent Australian ATM transaction processor EFTEX in conjunction with the mobile phone company Vodafone.

Traditionally ATMs specific to the various financial institutions are run using a leased line, which provides speed and security. However, according to EFTEX, the system is "expensive".

Alternatively, most ATMs operated by independent vendors utilise the cheaper method of dial-up connection, yet EFTEX says this system is usually slow and has raised concerns over reliability and security.

So far, 15 wireless ATMs have been dispatched, with EFTEX predicting more than 300 will be operational by the end of the year.

Managing director of EFTEX, David Glen, claims that the wireless ATM solution will bring together the cost-efficiency of the dial-up ATM model with the customer service qualities of the leased line version.

"We started exploring the GPRS ATM idea six months ago, and we've found it to be fast, secure and cost effective," said Glen, adding that the price estimates of the GPRS ATM system are even better than expected.

"The wireless machine will be up to 50 percent cheaper to run than the standard leased line ones," he said.

EFTEX estimates that by switching to wireless technology, the leased line ATM industry could save up to AU$35 million annually; the company says the boost will not be restricted to local businesses as benefits from the new system may be experienced "across the world".

Trials of the new machines have been run over the past five months in NSW, Queensland and the ACT, and according to Glen rigorous testing has shown that the wireless ATMs have surpassed the leased line versions in security levels.

Vodafone representatives have described the innovation as "epic", saying the company has got "security, coverage and service levels nailed".

EFTEX predicts that within four years the majority of banks' ATMs will be running on wireless technology, as Glen states dial-up ATM's will soon become "museum pieces".