Vending machines: how is the French fleet managed?

Players specializing in ATM management are adapting to the rationalization of ATMs by banks. How do they ensure that this equipment, used less and less by the French, remains profitable? An overview of network management.

Specialized players face the challenge of rationalizing ATM networks

In response to changing usage patterns and the decline in cash payments, banks have begun to rationalize their ATM networks. On October 5, Société Générale, BNP Paribas and Crédit Mutuel announced that they were studying the possibility of pooling their respective networks by the end of 2023.

Specialized players such as vending machine manufacturers, who maintain the machines, and cash-in-transit operators, who supply them, are forced to adapt to these changes.

The gradual reduction in the number of ATMs has left some rural areas without a solution. To remedy this situation, several town councils have decided to install ATMs which they manage themselves, without going through the intermediary of a bank.

These "cash points", of which there are currently 35, are set to increase in number over the coming months. They are set up by the cash-in-transit company Brink's in communities that so wish.

In some countries, vending machine manufacturers are now accustomed to providing a wider range of services than banking, to compensate for the decline in cash withdrawals.

In Asia, for example, ATMs can be used to play the lottery, while in Spain and Portugal, users can use them to carry out various administrative formalities, such as paying fines or taxes.

The development of outsourcing contracts

Although such developments are not currently planned in France, manufacturers and cash-in-transit companies are signing outsourcing contracts with banks, and taking over the operation of entire ATM networks.

This is the case not only for Diebold Nixdorf, but also for Brink's, which from 2019 will manage and operate the 11,600 cash dispensers belonging to the BPCE Group. From the middle of next year, the cash-in-transit company will not only manage and operate these machines, but also own them.

For Groupe BPCE, it's all about cutting costs by optimizing ATM management, while providing better service to customers. Generally speaking, ATMs weigh heavily on a bank's budget, costing around 25,000 euros a year.

Thanks to outsourcing contracts, banks can switch to a variable-cost model, which is more advantageous than fixed costs, and benefit from a reduction in technical costs of between 10% and 30%. These changes in the management of France's ATM fleet are helping to keep them profitable, even though their use has fallen by 25% since 2014.