The Automated Teller Machine (ATM) has revolutionised the way people bank but, apparently, SA has fewer machines than comparable jurisdictions. New technology has seen the ATM has become a sophisticated banking tool enabling customers to do more complex transactions that would once have been undertaken at a bank branch.

This is part of the reason why ATM roll-out has been quite aggressive in SA, but experts say there is still room for more. Cardtronics, the world’s largest non-bank ATM operator, announced earlier this week that it has acquired Spark ATM Systems, an independent ATM deployer based in Cape Town.

Spark founders Marc Sternberg and Russel Berman and their existing management team will continue in their current roles, and the head office in Cape Town will be retained to become the Cardtronics African base.

Number of ATMs and branches.
Number of ATMs and branches.

Cardtronics CEO Steve Rathgaber said SA was under-penetrated in terms of ATMs per person relative to Cardtronics’ two largest existing markets, North America and Europe. Data from the World Bank shows that in 2015 there were 69 ATMs per 100,000 people in SA.

Sternberg said there was growth potential for the local market. "We are excited about the synergies between Spark’s robust operating platform and proven sales engine, and the added capabilities and credibility that come with the world’s premier ATM services provider, Cardtronics," said Sternberg. "We look forward to further developing and capitalising on these combined strengths to serve our existing customers, unlock new business opportunities and further expand the reach of ATMs in SA."


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