Wells Fargo ATMs Add Tap-and-Pay Functionality

October 12, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Things haven’t been going really well for Wells Fargo these days, rocked by scandal and facing some serious lack of trust in the user community. However, there are plenty of signs that the company is trying desperately to recover any lost position, and it’s got a new feature it likely hopes will help: tap-and-pay functionality at over 5,000 of its ATMs.

The new tap-and-pay system calls on near field communications (NFC) technology to allow users to pull cash from an ATM using a smartphone’s mobile wallet function to bridge the gap, particularly Wells Fargo Wallet. It does work with other wallets, though, like Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and Android Pay, however. From there, it’s as simple as using a Wells Fargo Debit PIN or an EasyPay Card PIN to access cash.

It also works alongside an earlier development from Wells Fargo, the one-time access code system developed back in March that allows users to access ATMs without having a physical card on hand. The tap-and-pay system, meanwhile, is expected to reach the rest of Wells Fargo’s ATMs—over 13,000 total, which means around 8,000 ATMs or so don’t have this capability yet—by 2019. Those ATMs that have the capability will show as much clearly with a “contactless symbol” decal on the ATM’s front.

Wells Fargo’s head of virtual channels Jim Smith noted “According to Forrester, by 2021, mobile payments volume in the U.S. will triple. Our customers are increasingly using mobile to manage their finances and make payments, which makes it ever important for Wells Fargo to provide our more than 20 million mobile banking and mobile wallet customers with a seamless mobile authentication and access experience at our ATMs, online, and in our branches.”

It’s a good idea, even if it won’t actually reach a lot of Wells Fargo customers for the next few months to a year or so. It makes the experience of using an ATM that much easier to work with, and convenience is generally a welcome addition to a consumer’s lineup, as long as security isn’t really badly compromised.

Still, this is kind of a limited reach effort for Wells Fargo here, and it’s likely not going to have that big an impact. Some impact, sure, but probably not the killer app that Wells Fargo was probably hoping for.