CommBank’s New-Look ATMs Are Terrible

CommBank’s New-Look ATMs Are Terrible

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For those who have yet to see it, CommBank’s familiar yellow/blackinterface has been replaced by a new menu that looks nothing like its predecessor.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.

      • Indeed, being 2m tall, the parallax thing really irritates me.

        Having said that, I have used an ATM maybe 5 times this year, and then often only to deposit. If I need cash I generally withdraw it when I’m paying for my groceries.

  • 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.

    • The Commbank implementation of favourite transactions was also awful. Every time you withdrew cash it would prompt you “would you like to save this transaction as your favourite’ and the option ‘no, and stop bloody asking every time’ wasn’t available unfortunately.

    • That’s some Sydney Morning Herald comments section level of quality there, italia. You lose points for not working in a complaint about how it’s the fault of the LNP or Labor though.

  • Turn it up mate! This was long overdue.

    Apparently you have nothing to write about.

    Its at least 50% quicker to pull out cash and it flows… It isn’t clunky.

    The only down side is no sound when u press an on screen button.

    Beyond that, long overdue

    • …? It is not quicker at all, personally.

      Old system: put in card, enter PIN, press favourite transaction.

      New system: put in card, enter PIN, press favourite transaction. Except sometimes you don’t quite press the right part of the screen to activate the transaction. It seems the heart can’t be pressed, but you have to press the part of the screen you should be reading as you press the “choice”. Where does the time saving come in? The mechanical process of the system dispensing the cash? That should be applicable no matter whether it is a touch screen or button presses.

      Long story short, if they are going touch screen, the entire system should have been replaced, not some hodge podge mashup of the old and new. The glass on the old system isn’t up to the responsiveness needed by the new system. Rip the whole thing out and install new ATMs if they want to do this.

    • Looks like a few people who worked on this project have swooped in to comment here 🙂

      This whole redesign is textbook awful. I actually laughed out loud first time I used it. They’ve taken something that already worked nicely and which people were familiar with, and altered user flows. They’ve introduced weird new visual hierarchies, new (and unusual, and non-intuitive) selection mechanisms and visual cues.

      They’ve added clutter, reduced readability, introduced sloppy UI copy, and generally made a hash of an interface which should be aiming for the minimal cognitive effort on the part of the user. Previous version was vastly better.

      This whole thing stinks of redesign by stakeholder / burning some cash on a tight timeline before the end of the financial year / unsupervised junior designer.

  • Long overdue indeed!

    And this whole rant needs to be preceded by “in my isolated opinion”.

    Saying things like “Like thousands of other Aussies, I was mildly perturbed…”, “We don’t imagine the average pensioner had a fun time…” and “A lot of people don’t want social media trends to invade their banking” is a desperate attempt to make it look like you’ve done some research and see if anyone else shares YOUR opinion.

    But you haven’t. You speculate, conjecture and “imagine” other people also having the same whinge you’re having.

    Is it perfect? No, but it’s much faster and I like it.
    My personal opinion…

  • When you see things like this you wonder how they ever see the light of day. Apparently layers of business, design and IT people (was going to professional in quotes but that would be snarky) thought this was still a good idea at multiple stages and brought it into production. I wonder what they thought it achieved beyond giving them something to do?

    This is a bit like the Bunnings advert where the staff member says “thats the good thing about DIY, you can do it yourself!” made it all the way through every level of review and actually got aired briefly.

  • Have to agree its a bit of a mash. After trying to use the buttons and the screen saying it now has to be touch screen the next thing it asks is to use the buttons to enter a pin! It doesn’t flow very well.

  • The screen is full of noise ,and if that brown emoji is what I think it is it just shouldn’t be there. If I was a shareholder or had an account at the bank, add this on top of all the other scandals and I would be pulling my money out. Because they just don’t know what they are doing.

  • First time I have seen this and it is a instant shocker. No transition planning for older people who are used to the original screen and the transactions take too long and as mentioned, no brand logo. Having been associated with CBA ATMs for 15+ years I can say the rot set in in this department a few years back and that arm of the CBA has gone down, down, down. Not properly tracking criminal behavior, the entire application chain is fragmented and outsourced to several different companies that do not work cohesively, management are no longer proud of the company and do not focus on success, the list goes on and on….

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