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BMO Harris Bank builds largest network of mobile-enabled ATMs

BMO Harris Bank is taking mobile banking to the next level by enabling consumers to withdraw money from an automatic teller machine using their smartphone.

With the launch of Mobile Cash, BMO Harris claims to the largest network of cardless ATMs in the country. The QR-code based smartphone technology enables customers to make ATM withdrawals without removing their debit cards from their wallets, thereby speeding up the time a customer spends at an ATM.

“Mobile Cash allows customers the convenience of completing ATM transactions without having to carry their card,” said Jim Kappel, vice president of corporate communications at BMO Financial Group, Chicago, IL.

“Research has demonstrated that consumers are increasingly attached to their smart phones – more consumers would rather use their mobile phone than the contents of their wallet,” he said. “Mobile cash is a convenient innovation for those who don’t wish to carry their wallet everywhere or who prefer contactless transactions.

“Mobile Cash provides enhanced security benefits because none of the customer’s card information is ever stored on their phone.”

BMO Harris Bank operates more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida.

QR code technology
The technology promises to enhance security as customer card information is not stored on the phone.

To use Mobile Cash, a BMO Harris customer first downloads the digital banking app, which will include an option for Mobile Cash.  When customers sign in, they will put in the amount they want to withdraw. All the information will then be stored until the customer gets to an ATM.

At the ATM, the customer launches Mobile Cash on the video screen. A QR code then appears on the screen. The customer holds the smartphone close enough to let the phone’s camera scan the code. If there’s a match between app and QR code for the customer’s account, the cash is then dispensed.

The total time to complete a transaction is approximately 15 seconds compared to 45 seconds when using a card, according to BMO Harris.

Evolving expectations
Customers can locate any of the 750 Mobile Cash ATMs using their BMO Harris Bank Mobile Banking App. An additional 150 ATMs will feature the service in June 2015.

BMO Harris developed Cash Mobile to address customers’ evolving expectations as they look for more digital tools that bring added convenience and value.

BMO Harris also released the results of a survey that shows how digital personal finance tools and services are having a positive effect on the financial standing of Americans.

Key findings include that 87 percent agree that they know exactly what is going on with their finances at all times; 82 percent say they are managing their finances more effectively as a result of using digital personal finance tools; 78 percent agree they make better purchase decisions when on the go, while 77 percent have better control over their spending.

Additionally, bills are paid on time more often by 75 percent of consumers, and 70 percent say they are overdrawn on their account less often.

“The launch of Mobile Cash shows how BMO is investing in and building capabilities that allow us to engage with customers in ways that reflect their individual needs and preferences – recognizing customers as individuals,” Mr. Kappel said. “There are two big benefits for our customers: convenience and security.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York