CommBank's New-Look ATMs Are Terrible

Image: Lifehacker

A few weeks ago, the Commonwealth Bank updated the onscreen menu on its Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). Presumably, the redesigned interface was implemented in an attempt to make customers' lives easier (and perhaps to garner some good will after that recent ATM money-laundering scandal.)

Unfortunately, the results are a bit of a dog's breakfast. Here's why.

Last week, I inserted my credit card into a CommBank ATM to withdraw some cash. Like thousands of other Aussies, I was mildly perturbed by the drastically different UI that popped up on screen.

For those who have yet to see it, CommBank's familiar yellow/black interface has been replaced by a new menu that looks nothing like its predecessor. Observe the above screenshot, which is what you see after typing in your PIN code. It's like staring at the ATM screen for a different bank.

In terms of design, this is a big no-no. If you're going to implement a customer-facing change to a product used by millions of people, you need to ease them into it.

This goes doubly when it comes to software applications, which are something many users find confusing to begin with. We don't imagine the average pensioner had a fun time when first confronted with this menu. It's simply too different.

In addition, the new UI just looks bad. The tiny fonts, drab colour scheme and menu layout are uninspired and half-baked - it almost feels like a software prototype before the final skin is spruced up.

Personally, we think the prominence given to a Facebook-esque "Favourites" icon is another misstep by CommBank. A lot of people don't want social media trends to invade their banking - even if the similarity is purely cosmetic.

Adding to the headache, a lot of the new options require the customer to use the ATM's touchscreen, which tend to be annoyingly unresponsive. I was forced to press down on the screen three or four times before the input registered. Clearly, any ATM change that prolongs transaction time is not for the better.

The adage: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies here. Hopefully CommBank will revisit its ATM screens sooner rather than later.



    This has been a MAJOR issue with my grandparents. The move to touchscreen and the corresponding lack of tactile feedback in the button presses means the elderly are unsure whether they pressed the wrong button, missed the button or are just doing the wrong thing entirely. Then they'll spend time looking at the screen confused, which causes more problems when the screen times you out with a question asking whether you need more time...and more buttons...

      On the other hand, I'm tired of seeing old ATM's where the function of a physical button is determined by what is on screen next to the button. When there are fewer options on screen than there are buttons, I find myself having issues figuring out which button is correct due to parallax (as the screen is quite far behind the window with the buttons), and I have to stoop to get my eyes in line with the button to check, which isn't good for my dodgy spine.

    A big problem for many outdoor ATMs is glare from the sun making the screen almost unreadable. Doing a little dance in front of it to block out light using your body and hands is just ridiculous.

    "Personally, we think the prominence given to a Facebook-esque "Favourites" icon is another misstep by CommBank."

    If I remember right from years ago when I was with St George, and currently with ANZ, options for a "favourite" transaction have been around for a long time. I personally think they're convenient, though I agree the implementation in the screenshot leaves a bit to be desired. As it is, 2/3 (vertically) of the screen is given over to the favourites / blank space for the favourites, with only 1/3 the functional menu buttons.

      Oh, I'm all for Favourite and Fast transactions - the criticism is more to do with the big ol' heart icon which feels very FB/Twitter inspired.

        Yep, totally agree with you in that respect. :)

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