SINGAPORE - Soon you will be able to withdraw cash from the ATM by tapping your mobile phone which can also issue digital credit cards.
United Overseas Bank (UOB) is rolling out ATMs which let customers withdraw cash simply by tapping their smartphones, the bank said on Tuesday.
The first two UOB ATMs to allow cash withdrawal using the smartphone instead of sliding in a plastic card will be in Raffles Place and Alexandra next month.
By January 2017, at least 60 such ATMs will be in operation and by December 2018, all of UOB's ATMS will be replaced with new machines enabled with NFC contactless capabilities. UOB has 634 ATMs islandwide.
Customers can still withdraw cash using a physical card in the new machines.
NFC stands for near field communication which enables the contactless function.
Customers with MasterCard credit and debit cards on Apple Pay will be the first to enjoy the ATM mobile service. Android phone users will be able to start tapping their contactless ATMs using the UOB Mighty Pay app by January 2017. This will be available to UOB MasterCard cardmembers first and subsequently to UOB Visa cardmembers.
Contactless ATMs are already in use in Australia, the US and China, said Dennis Khoo, UOB head of personal financial services Singapore.
"It's another way of thinning out the wallet, not having to carry the card with you," said Mr Khoo in a media briefing.
As the bank helps customers phase out the plastic, next month UOB's existing credit card customers will be able to apply for, receive and use its most popular credit cards via the mobile.
So instead of having a slew of credit cards to take advantage of special deals and causing unsightly bulges in one's wallet, a UOB credit card customer can apply for a credit card instantly to take advantage of specific promotions.
For instance a UOB credit card customer in Japan may want to take advantage of JCB promotions but doesn't have the UOB JCB card. JCB cards are popular with Japanese merchants. The customer can now instantly apply for the UOB JCB digital credit card with the mobile and take advantage of JCB offers.
UOB cardmembers will be the first in the world to enjoy instant digital credit card issuance through their smartphones, he said.
The bank is the leading credit card player in Singapore and accounts for one in five of all credit card transactions here.
Banks are rushing to make Singapore an e-payments society which is also in line with the government's vision. It helps that the country has a high 150 per cent mobile phone penetration meaning every second person in Singapore has two phone lines registered under their name.
Last month Maybank said it expects to launch contactless ATM cash withdrawal in the first quarter of 2017 by tying up with Samsung Pay.
"Banks must continue to be responsive to customers' changing needs and preferences by embracing innovation and harnessing technology to empower customers to bank even more conveniently," said Mr Khoo.
Consumers are becoming increasingly attached to their smartphones, which have become an integral lifestyle device, he said.
As for security concerns, Aaron Chiew, UOB head of mobile, payments and digital sales said "when you lose your mobile phone, you know immediately" adding that when someone loses their card, it may take a few days before they are aware of the loss.
But Mr Khoo advises carrying plastic when travelling, because many countries have yet to embrace contactless payments.
This article was first published on September 14, 2016.
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