Tuesday, March 17, 2015

BMO Harris has an app to withdraw cash from an ATM

While most Europeans have bank cards with embedded electronic chips, on the US the older magnetic strip cards are still the norm. Now, there's a bank that hopes to skip around the "skimmers" problem completely, by removing the need of an actual plastic card when withdrawing cash from an ATM.

Skimmers are devices embedded or hidden on ATMs, that can copy your card data. These devices can even send the stolen info wirelessly to thieves, and are often nearly impossible to detect (sometimes we're talking about a complete fake ATM front). But they all rely on you inserting your card on the ATM, something that you won't need to do using this new system by BMO Harris Bank.

Now, all you'll need is a smartphone app to withdraw money. You head to an ATM, enter your password to enter into an app in your smartphone, select the amount to withdraw, chose "mobile" on the ATM screen, point your smartphone camera to the QR code on the ATM screen... and it will spit out the money. That's as simple as it gets (they could have used NFC or bluetooth beacons to identify the ATM your next to, but using the camera and QR code ends up being simpler and allowing for a wider range of devices to work.)

Now, should you want some money, you can definitely say: there's an app for that too!


  1. Believe it or not, but this system is already in use for quite some time in Belgium by KBC bank

    1. Sounds logical. :)
      Hope it spreads around more (just yesterday, a portuguese startup won a 24h coding competition with a similar idea.)


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