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Artificial intelligence keeps HSBC ATMs stocked with cash

HSBC is using artificial intelligence technology developed in-house to help it make sure ATMs are appropriately stocked with cash

HSBC is replacing more manual processes, with artificial intelligence (AI) being used to automate when ATMs need to be refilled.

The technology, developed by HSBC’s operations and technology teams, has been trialled in Hong Kong, where the bank has 1,200 ATMs.

The iCash AI technology has reduced ATM refills, which are done by third parties, by 15% – saving $1m.

To calculate how much money is needed and where, iCash uses live ATM data and predictive machine learning algorithms that factor in seasonality, holidays, public events, location and recent withdrawal trends.

The bank said it was a challenge to predict how much cash each ATM might need. The process involves manually creating forecasts for demand, which could result in ATMs running out of cash, as well as unnecessary refills.

“iCash provides a more reliable cash service to customers by making sure we have the right amount of cash in the right place,” said Chris Trill, global head of wealth and personal banking operations at HSBC.

Teams at the bank have dashboard visualisers showing withdrawal patterns, which enables them to keep machines stocked. It has reduced lead times on cash replenishment deliveries from as much as 36 hours down to just 15 minutes.

“iCash is a game-changing digital solution that improves the customer experience, while unlocking both man-hour and vendor savings,” said Trill. “It also reduces the risk of robbery by moving away from scheduled cash deliveries.”

The bank plans to use the technology beyond Hong Kong.

Many banks are looking to AI and automation technologies to cut operating costs and support digital transformation. According to a recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), for Temenos, only cyber security will be a bigger primary focus for technology investment than AI in the next few years.

While using automation and AI to cut costs by supporting back-end operations such as ATM replenishment, banks also recognise the importance of investing in technology to improve customer services, with AI’s potential to personalise customer experience seen as an attractive prospect. Some 77% of respondents to the EIU survey said AI would separate the winners and the losers.  

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