• Frainc Reid

What's the Difference Between Video Teller, ITM, ATM, Assisted-Self Service…? | Part 1 of 4

Updated: 5 days ago

This article is the first in a 4 part series looking at Branch Automation Ecosystems.

Part 1: What's the difference between Video Teller, ITM, ATM, Assisted-Self Service?

Part 2: What are the Options for Each Type of Automated Machine Solution?

Part 3: Defining a Branch Automation Ecosystem That Works for You

Part 4: Branch Self-service Glossary

After meeting and talking with many vendors and Financial Institutions (FI) over the last couple of months, it became clear that many people were using different terms to mean different things when discussing self-service and assisted-self service solutions. (Think ITM, ATM, ASK, Video Teller, etc.)

Some terms have different meanings for different vendors and clients, so it is always good to understand the solution, regardless of the name. This 4-part series contains a subset of the full branch self-service glossary that we have defined at the end and can be found here.

The purpose of this article is to offer a deeper understanding through the glossary we created. This also seeks to demystify the many different terms and, more importantly, allow people to understand the differences between solutions, no matter what term they use to describe them.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to ensure that terms have a defined meaning and is not trying to correct other vendors' meanings.


When looking at Branch Automation Systems (defined below, but briefly: used to mean all of your self-service and assisted self-service machines), there are multiple vendors of both hardware and software solutions that can be engaged.

With many providers using different terms, this leaves FIs in a situation of not being able to compare solutions properly, and sometimes implementing a strategy that may not be the best solution for them.

With a better understanding of the terms and, more specifically, the different types of solutions that are available, FIs should be able to engage providers with the right questions and understanding of what they are buying into.


Below is Antuar’s definition of terms used in the industry. Because there is no industry standard, other software and hardware providers may use the same terms differently.,avoid




ASK (Assisted Self Service Kiosk)

  • The machine software connects to the FI's core systems (e.g., Finastra, Fiserv, Correlation, Jack Henry, etc.) and may even connect to more than just the core (e.g., CRM, sales, onboarding, etc.)

  • The machines will reside on the FI network, and avoid transaction charges that may be incurred on an ATM network.

  • Financial transactions are posted directly to the core, and, depending on the core processing approach, may impact balances immediately or overnight.

  • Typically, the financial transactions are limited by two constraints: i) the peripherals (devices) in the machine, but these types of machines are generally fully loaded (instant issue card, check printing, cash recycler, etc.), and ii) the business needs (e.g., a business may not want coins in the machine because they are expensive to administer, or may not want to allow depositing of more than 5 checks at a time to discourage corporate clients using the machine.

  • Customer authentication can be chosen from many different approaches, depending on the FI technology and the customer expectations: one or more approaches can be used: bank card and PIN, online banking credentials, mobile phone credentials, 2FA, ID e.g., driver's license presented to staff, biometric...

  • With ASK the customer drives all transactions but assistance can be provided when certain thresholds or business rules call for assistance. (i.e., Assistance if and only if certain conditions are met), or specifically requested by the customer.

  • Assistance can be provided locally (e.g., from a member of staff using a tablet in the branch and beside the machine), or remotely (e.g. using a video teller to assist on queries or transactions not available on the machine.) In fact, some of these systems can be configured to provide no support (e.g. out of hours when there would be no staff available.)

  • Typically, staff (local or remote) are equipped with contextual data about the customer (account details, personal details, service requests, etc.) as soon as the customer is identified on the machine or, at the very least, as soon as the customer requires assistance.

  • These machines may provide ATM services to the customers and non-customers, and connectivity to the ATM network may be through the ATM network or through a server that connects to the ATM acquirer network.

Examples of business rules requiring assistance - if a check needs to be proofed? Or a transaction is above a certain threshold; Staff is required to prove a check, or approve a large cash transaction.


ATM (Automated Teller Machine)

  • The "original" automated machine solution that is connected to the ATM (rails) networks with limited features.

  • Authentication using bank card and PIN and allowing transactions on the bank accounts associated with the bank card.

  • While the transactions and features have been slightly extended over the years, the machine typically allows cash withdrawals, and balance inquiries. More modern machines may allow deposits of cash and checks.

  • The protocols on the ATM network restrict the types of transactions that can be executed.

  • Your hardware provider is generally certified by the network to adhere to the network protocols.

  • ATM network providers charge per transaction across their network.

Branch Automation


  • The infrastructure and solution that will automate transactions in your branch using self-service or assisted self-service machines (lobby, drive up, and through the wall). While your teller line may also have cash recyclers, and check scanners, we are only focusing here on the customer-facing machines here.

  • The solution is a combination of different machines, software, networks, and technologies.

  • The ecosystem may allow the tailoring of a solution that is unique to a specific location's requirements or maybe a generic one that has the same solution at every location. The FI needs to choose what is the best solution for them, their customer needs, and their capability.

  • The Branch Automation Ecosystem should complement the Branch Strategy and the overall FI strategy.

  • The Branch Automation Ecosystem can also work in drive-through locations as well as in off-site locations (such as a shopping center)

  • This can be a cookie-cutter solution (same hardware, and the same software in all locations), or maybe a hybrid solution utilizing the best hardware solutions for each location, irrespective of provider.

  • The software chosen as part of this Ecosystem is critical as the hardware.


ITM (Intelligent/Interactive Teller Machine)

  • ITM is an integrated software solution connected to the core systems - Here, the only difference we see between an ITM and ASK is that the ITM may not provide local assistance to the customer.


SFM(Single Feature Machine)

  • A machine that only has one transactional purpose.

  • Likely to be cheaper than a fully automated machine as it will have fewer devices in it.

  • Addresses a specific need in a specific location, at a lower price.

E.g. A high-capacity deposit machine, that only takes cash deposits.


VTM (Video Teller Machine)

  • This is essentially an ATM machine with a video connection to a FI call center.

  • Clients talk to the staff member at the other end of the video call, and the staff member generally keys the transaction into the teller system, while being able to control/see what is going on at the ATM.

  • Clients generally cannot transact on the machine without someone being on the other side of the video system.

  • The number of transactions that can be performed on the VTM will depend generally on FI policy, as the video teller will be able to transact through the teller system which should have all transactions.

  • Video tellers may allow staff to see/scan client ID in order to authenticate customers. but bank cards and PINs will generally be used.


A summary of the solution terms and the types of integrations available are displayed below.

Summary table






Connects to ATM network






Connects Directly to the core directly






Connect to video






Connect to tablet (local)






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