We’re all familiar with the automated teller machine (ATM). Whether in the lobby of your office building or a kiosk in a shopping mall, ATMs are at the very root of convenience banking.

While they are convenient, they offer limited functionality. So what’s next? How can banks better serve their customers in today’s mobile world?

Although four out of five Americans have visited a local bank branch in the last year, the need for regular visits to a physical location is becoming less necessary. Instead, many customers turn to digital options when in need of assistance, an ATM when in search of cash and the branch as an absolute last resort. In fact, less than half of Generation Z prefers to conduct their banking face-to-face, so it’s safe to assume that the future of banking will be largely digital and outside of the traditional branch.

A critical component of this evolving future will be the ITM. So what can a “virtual teller” actually do?

What are the benefits of an ITM?

Unlike an ATM where there’s only interaction through limited button response, an ITM includes a touch screen, buttons and a handheld phone providing direct access to a live teller. You may be asking yourself, if someone wants to speak with a teller, why wouldn’t they just go into a bank?

There are several reasons. ITMs offer a combination of convenience, an empowered customer experience, personal self-service transactions, increased teller service hours and improved staff productivity.

An ITM might be more conveniently located as opposed to forcing you to trek all the way to a branch location. Also, there is some truth to the jokes about bankers’ hours — people often find themselves unable to make it in during the limited availability. With ITMs you can speak to a teller outside of normal business hours.

Also, if you don’t have your debit card, or if it were stolen, you can prove your identity by showing or, in some cases, scanning another form of identification so the teller can look up your account information securely. Card-less convenience isn’t all these machines are good for though; the friendly personal interaction provided by a teller has countless benefits. For those who appreciate an interpersonal touch in the digital age, this is an ideal solution; no need to choose between human interaction and digital convenience, the ITM is the perfect middle ground. Whether it’s requesting specific increments of money or ordering checks, the ITM has you covered.

ITMs also employ the latest banking technology, making them faster and more efficient than ATMs. They can process multiple checks and stacks of bills — at the same time — with far fewer issues than ATMs.

The Future of ITMs

These advanced machines are popping up all across the country and are often replacing the exact location of a pre-existing ATM. While they can also be found in branch lobbies, keep an eye out in locations that provide 24/7 access.

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