This evening I had to deposit a cheque at the bank downstairs. Now this was the first time I’ve used the ATMs at this branch since they upgraded them. Even though this particular branch is less than four years old, this is (by my count) the third time they’ve upgraded the ATMs. The first set did not have touch screens and had buttons on the side. The second set did away with physical buttons and had touch screens and also had enhanced security features to prevent PIN stealing. As I walked up to the newest incarnation of these ATMS, I wondered what would await me.

I immediately saw that there were nice red glass accents framing both ATMs, making them look quite fancy. There was also clear and large signage above both, indicating that these ATMs were good for deposits and withdrawals and that they were capable of dispensing US currency.

As I stepped up to one of them to deposit my cheque, I could see in bold letters that these ATMs did not accept envelopes for deposits. Interesting. As I went through the deposit user interface flow, I was instructed to stack up to 50 (I think) bills and cheques on top of each other and then insert them directly into the lighted slot. Since I only had one cheque, I just slid it into the slot and waited.

At this point, I thought that my cheque might actually go into some internal envelope for processing or perhaps it would go in some sorta internal storage mechanism (like a Redbox in reverse). To my complete surprise, after just a few seconds, I saw the scanned image of the cheque, that I had just deposited, on the touchscreen. It was perfectly aligned and centered, and all the writing was clear. Not only that, the deposit amount was shown in another box on-screen. Keep in mind, I did not enter the deposit amount during the user interface flow. Amazing! These ATMs must be using some sorta of optical character recognition to determine the numerical amount from the writing itself. Now the interesting thing is that the person who wrote this cheque for me writes their numbers kinda funny but the ATM was still able to discern the correct number. I wonder if it analyzes both the written numbers and written words to see if there is a correct match. I bet it would be faster and easier just to analyze the written numbers.

Once the deposit was complete, I was given the choice of getting my deposit receipt e-mailed to me, which is a new option that I’ve never seen before.

Making deposits at the bank has never been so exciting before!

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