I was surprised and a little upset when my bank did away with drive-through tellers.

How It Went

I actually go to a credit union, but I guess that's neither here nor there.  All of a sudden, one day there were orange cones in all the drive-up lanes diverting traffic to what looked like huge automatic tellar machines.  For some time, there were even people seated beside the A.T.M.s to ease the transition. It took a while before I was convinced that this was a good idea.

The Human Cost

I don't like any job that takes the place of a human, but I'm not convinced that these jobs hadn't been downsized so much that there were many tellers put out of work. I believe attrition and reassignment took care of most of the people I used to see. I could be, and probably am, very naive, but the employees I spoke with just didn't seem too upset about it. Make no mistake, there's still a metric ton of work that needs to be done inside the banks.

What To Expect

I hate to break it to you, but it's better than humans and in my experience by a whole lot. Let's back up a bit and keep in mind that most of these banks and credit unions still have people inside to help you, so there's that. Now, let's get to the drive-through experience which is the thing most impacted.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

It Seems Faster

If you were driving through to get cash, then you now have more A.T.M.s to utilize. You also have a virtual teller (a live but probably not local person to help you). Also, these advanced machines have the ability for you to choose your bills, which many of you have not had before. In short, again, "getting money" is now better all the way around.

What About Deposits?

So how about depositing a check? Again, the process is streamlined. The A.T.M.s at my bank allow you to insert (I believe) 50 checks at a time and who is really dealing with that many checks in 2023 anyway? But wait, my A.T.M. gives you the option of a receipt with pictures of the checks on it, a service that was not available before!

As for depositing cash, it too is much easier. You just put a stack of bills in the machine and it counts them and sends you on the way. It's much less cumbersome than watching someone sort, straighten, and count your bills.

A Real Life Experience

Just this past Wednesday I had to deposit a check for my side hustle and I immediately got a prompt saying a live teller would be with me shortly. Within 30 seconds I was speaking to a human who then walked my check through and got it approved!

What You May Miss

So what are you losing in all of this? I guess it might be a tiny bit more work for you to make a large deposit from your car, but you'll end up saving time feeding it to the machine rather than waiting for a count and a settlement.

Change Happens

I've seen people bemoan this transition and blame it on computers and A.I. (which certainly make these things possible), however, nobody seems to mention that most transactions are done digitally and cash and check transactions are no longer the norm anyway.  In other words, if you want to be mad about it, maybe you shouldn't be using a debit or credit card.

Not all change is bad, and after a few visits, you'll find that this is one change that was 100% called for.

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