A branch of the China Construction Bank situated in downtown Shanghai has become fully automated, enabling it to dispense completely with the use of tellers.
According to a report from EJ Insight the CCB branch situated on Jiujiang Road uses a barrage of hi-tech measures to verify the identity of clients and provide services, making it the first bank in China to do business without tellers.
Clients use personal ID or a bank card to gain access to the CCB branch via electronic turnstiles, before facial recognition technology determines their identity.
They then gain access to a range of machines that provide over 90% of both conventional cash and non-cash banking services, including account opening, money transfer, foreign exchange, gold investment and wealth management products.
While a bank branch completely devoid of tellers may appear excessively impersonal, the new generation of Chinese bank customers appeared pleased with the results, viewing them as part of a broader financial revolution that includes a shift towards a cashless society.
“You are looking at the future,” said one young CCB client named Xiaolong to Ej Insight. “Thils will be there trend of the future – branches without staff.
“For myself, I conduct all my banking affairs online and through machines…I do not need people, just as I almost do not need cash.”
China has become an increasingly cashless society, with more and more citizens conducting daily transactions via their smartphones and mobile payment providers such as Alipay.
Figures from the China Banking Association indicate that the country is host to 802,600 self-service machines in 228,700 bank branches, of which 113,900 are “smart machines” offering a range of services in addition to cash deposits and withdrawals.
CCB alone has installed 1,600 such smart machines at its 360 branches in Shanghai.