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Customers at US bank can now withdraw cash at ATM with their smartphone

Customers at a leading American financial institution can now withdraw money from an ATM by using their smartphone. Wells Fargo have introduced card-less ATMs across the US in a massive digital push. Depositors from Well Fargo can extract cash from any of its branded ATMs - which is another indicative measure of US lenders desire to move away from traditional forms of banking into a new era of digitization.

Head of ATM and branch-banking at Wells Fargo, Jonathan Velline said the San-Francisco based banking institution decided to apply the smartphone technology to all of its 13,000 cash machine after successfully piloting the idea in select locations across the US. Other US banks such as Bank of America Corp and JPMorgan Chase &Co are among other lenders to announce similar digital upgrades to their ATM infrastructure, but Wells Fargo has become the first US bank to implement card-less machines across its entire network. The 20 million customers who use Wells Fargo's mobile banking application will be able to submit a request for an eight-digit code to enter along with their personal identification code at an ATM to retrieve cash with its smartphone.

"The Head of ATM and branch-baking at Wells Fargo said one of the main drivers behind the move to card-less ATMs was to combat the ongoing issue of security with cards, criminals use skimming techniques to read and store data of cards used in ATMs," Velline added.

"The new feature allows customers to withdraw cash at any time, even when they don't have their cards on them. The new option will also improve protections against data theft. Security certainly was a big aspect of the card-less feature and the two-step identification helps reduce the risk of fraud. The new technology can also eliminate the so-called skimming techniques used by criminals to read and store data of cards inserted into ATMs."

Wells Fargo was once the envy of Wall Street when it was regarded as the world's most valuable bank. However, a string of sales scandals which involved the creation of fraudulent accounts had a severe impact on the organization. The number of accounts being opened with the financial colossus has plummeted and its stock price has also so sharply declined.

In a bid to buck the trend, Wells Fargo has made a move towards the development and implementation of digital tools in order to retain and attract customers - whilst also slashing costs at its retail branches.

 Gerard du Toit, a partner at consulting firm Bain & Company said: "Digitalizing services is unquestionably the way to the future and the arguments are very powerful, but U.S. banks are still far behind. Accessible, well-designed digital offers not only provide a massive cost advantage, but also significantly improve customer loyalty."