If an ATM could prompt users the summary of what they have done onscreen, would it be of any value in saving time, printer and paper?

  • What is your question exactly? Your title says "balance", picked up in some answers to mean "account balance". Your text: "The summary of what they have done onscreen ...to save time..." suggests info like "you have withdrawn amount x from you account ending on ...xxx" or something.
    – wintvelt
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 15:34
  • 1
    This has been done in ATMs in some countries (e.g. South Africa) since the 1980s.
    – JohnGB
    Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 1:59

6 Answers 6


Only if that's what they've asked for.

From a usability perspective - There will be people who don't want the balance to be shown on screen. They could be stood their with their wife / girlfriend, and don't want them knowing just how much money they do / don't have.

Also, there may be technical constraints too. To display the balance requires the ATM making a call to the various banking services, which is a cost. There's no need to take this cost if the user hasn't asked for it.

  • I think this is correct. Also, displaying balance would give loitering thieves valuable insight into likely targets. Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 9:34
  • I agree @JonW , so obvious situation. But what if you don't receive any message from bank related to your account. Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 10:02

It depends on where you live. If you live in a hyper connected first world country where each customer has a quick access to his/her account information through mobile or web, then they don't need to risk knowing the balance through ATM screen (unless asked for).

But if you live in a country where people don't have mobile phones connected with their bank accounts, then you probably would've no way to know what your account balance (unless you go to the bank with your passbook). Having an on screen balance display helps a lot in that case.

When I was a student, I had my account with a government owned bank, despite of registering my phone number many times with the bank, I never got the message for my account balance after transactions. I was unqualified for internet banking because of underage. So, that leaves me at the mercy of on screen ATM display. Also, there was less chances of me being mugged than me running out of money.


I would like to see an quick account summary right after I enter my pin.

"Welcome! You have X $s in your account. Would you like to a) withdraw b) deposit..."

Plus real time calculations as I'm doing my transactions.

And finally an option if I would like to have the full summary displayed, printed, emailed or sent via sms (the bank already has my email and cell phone #). This could be a one-off setup so I don't have to be presented with this screen every time I'm using an ATM.

I see major benefits in time savings for both customers and the bank. Not sure if the paper, print and ink costs amount to much but there are also added waste and maintenance costs that could be reduced.


I don't think so... Most of the people don't want their balance to be displayed on screen after the transaction as it create threat or embarassing situation for user if someone is looking from back on the screen.

You can do by this way if you like There should be an option "Print Reciept" or "Show Balance on Screen". In case machine is running out of paper then system should ask that it is running out of paper would you like to see balcnce on screen after transaction.


For what it's worth, ATMs in Australia do exactly this—my bank's ATMs give you three options at the end of your transaction:

  1. Print transaction record (receipt)
  2. Show balance on screen
  3. No balance required
  • 1
    That isn't the same as what is being asked though. Because with your ATMs the user still has to make a choice. OP is asking if it should just show the balance regardless. Also; is this actually the best option? And why is it good / bad?
    – JonW
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 14:42
  • I read the "could" as suggesting the ATMs weren't able to initially—based on the other answers, it seems there are many ATMs that can't. I personally think it's better than printing (for cost and environment) but worse for time (because you then have to close it) and so use an app to check my balance, but my point was that whoever is designing the major banks' ATM interfaces over here followed through on introducing it as a feature.
    – Nathan
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 14:51

Isn't this a security risk? Wouldn't you at least feel uncomfortable having your balance displayed on screen where people can look over your shoulder and see how "rich" you are? ATMs are already heavily targeted by scammers, this would just make things easier for them.

  • This is why ATMs never do this, unless you explicitly request to see the balance.
    – user31143
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 14:20
  • Where I live, up until a year ago it was very common to have an ATM machine that displays balance on screen right after you make a transaction.
    – Pj_
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 14:51
  • Wow, I got a downvote! Must have been from an ATM scammer :P
    – Franchesca
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 8:04

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