What are the alternatives to cash dispensers?

While 1,600 cash dispensers have been phased out by 2020 and many bank branches are closing, new ways of accessing cash are developing. What are the rapidly developing alternatives?

Some banks are pooling their ATM networks

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the transformation of uses: the widespread use of contactless payments has led to a reduction in cash withdrawals, which had already begun before the health crisis.

Some banks have decided to pool their networks to cope with the cost of managing cash dispensers, which are becoming less profitable and even more expensive to maintain. Crédit Mutuel, BNP Paribas and Société Générale are currently studying the feasibility of pooling their ATMs.

For its part, BPCE has opted for outsourcing, entrusting Brink's France with the operation and maintenance of its 11,600 cash dispensers. Both parties stand to benefit from this alliance, with the cash-in-transit business benefiting from the opportunity to diversify and adapt to the gradual decline of cash.

When banks call on local businesses

While some banks opt for mutualization or outsourcing, others choose to work with local businesses to optimize their presence in the region.

Crédit Agricole has decided to offer a local service to its customers by creating a network of Relais CA in rural areas, to compensate for the absence of bank branches. The bank's customers can withdraw cash from partner retailers, who can be tobacconists, bakers or mini-markets.

According to Crédit Agricole figures, half of these Relais CA are located in tobacconists' shops, a quarter in butchers' and bakers' shops, and a quarter in grocery stores. There are 6,000 of them in France, far from conurbations, allowing customers to withdraw between 20 and 100 euros a day free of charge. In 2019, 2.5 million withdrawals were made at Relais CA.

Tobacconists reach agreement with Loomis

At the end of October, the Confédération Nationale des Buralistes signed an agreement with Loomis France, a cash-in-transit company belonging to the Securitas AB group. From now on, tobacconists who so wish can install an ATM in their business, in exchange for compensation for the costs incurred.

For tobacconists, it's an opportunity to attract more customers, while Loomis hopes to make its vending machines profitable thanks to the flow of consumers. Tobacconists have long opening hours - on average 12 hours a day, 6 days a week - making them ideal local outlets for cash dispensers.

Partnerships between mayors and cash-in-transit companies

More and more small towns are signing up to partnerships with cash-in-transit companies such as Brink's or Loomis. Faced with the closure of bank branches and ATMs in many isolated communities, some mayors are opting to equip themselves directly with ATMs, whose maintenance and supply is managed by the carriers.

They make their money by charging a commission on each withdrawal, and by charging town councils flat-rate fees, averaging 1,000 euros a month. Over a hundred cash dispensers have been installed in rural communities, in an attempt to support local businesses. Even though cash withdrawals are declining, 6 out of 10 local payments are still made in cash.