Valero Corner Stores, 7-Eleven Canada Implementing i-design Technology

Cardtronics acquires firm that turns ATM screens into delivery devices for targeted marketing

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

SAN ANTONIO -- Valero Corner Stores is already benefitting from a deal just officially announced by Cardtronics Inc., which said that its indirectly wholly owned subsidiary, Cardtronics Creative UK Ltd., has acquired i-design group plc for $12.76 million.

Based in Scotland, i-design provides the technology and services that transform ATM screens (and receipts) into delivery devices for interactive customer communications by financial institutions, as well as advertising space for retailers, third-party advertisers and independent ATM owners.

"Cardtronics is already using i-design solutions at select U.S. locations, including Cardtronics-owned, Frost Bank-branded ATMs hosted by Valero Corner Stores in Texas," Cardtronics spokesperson Nick Pappathopoulos told CSP Daily News. "Additionally, we have i-design software deployed on Cardtronics-owned, Scotiabank-branded ATMs hosted by 7-Eleven Canada stores. Cardtronics views i-design software and media sales solutions as having international appeal."

Built on the premise of helping financial services providers, retailers and third-party advertisers make the most of existing customer communications, marketing and ad campaigns, the i-design solution repurposes the "waiting time" in a standard ATM transaction. On an i-design enhanced ATM, screen-saver loops and screens that formerly read "processing" or "please wait" can deliver targeted marketing and advertising messages, interactive on-screen customer surveys and a call-to-action message on the receipt after the transaction.

"In a world where consumer attention seems forever fixed on a screen--smartphones, TVs, tablets, laptops, etc.--it's important to remember the attention-getting quality of a screen known to all demographics, the ATM screen," said Steve Rathgaber, CEO of Cardtronics. "Because an ATM transaction is all about that person's money, they're going to pay extra close attention to that screen. And with tens of thousands of ATMs under Cardtronics' direct control, plus our existing relationships with 1,200 financial institutions and name-brand retailers on two continents, i-design finds its ideal home at Cardtronics."

The ATM owner/operator licenses i-design's proprietary, platform independent software to enable in-house targeted marketing and advertising on ATM screens and receipts.For ATM owners/operators that choose to run third-party ads on their network, in addition to targeted customer communications, i-design manages and sells the newly created advertising space on behalf of the ATM owner/operator, which approves all content. And i-design's in-house design firm creates the customer communications, targeted marketing and third-party ad campaign media--specifically formatted for the ATM screen and receipt.

"With i-design, Cardtronics gains new software to help financial institutions talk to and be heard by their customers. With i-design and its existing network of 62,800 ATMs, Cardtronics potentially creates a highly effective and international advertising platform for retailers and advertisers. With i-design, Cardtronics can help financial service providers deliver personalized messages to individual cardholders, all while enhancing the value of an ATM transaction with a relevant offer or reward ready for immediate redemption," Rathgaber said.

"Merging with Cardtronics empowers i-design to invest in its marketing software and related services in a way not available to the company in its stand-alone form, which is outstanding news for our existing customers," said Ana Stewart, founder of i-design. "Going forward, whether it's leveraging Cardtronics' top-tier financial institution relationships to promote our interactive targeted marketing software or using Cardtronics' ATM fleet as a catalyst to expand our third-party advertising capabilities at key retailers--as a part of Cardtronics, i-design has an opportunity to accelerate its growth, achieve greater scale and expand its leadership on a global basis."

The i-design management team will continue in their current roles, including i-design founder and chief executive officer Ana Stewart, who devised the strategy for delivering ATM marketing solutions and brings 20-plus years of ATM industry expertise to Cardtronics' leadership team.

Dundee, Scotland-based i-design is a leading provider and developer of marketing and advertising software and services for ATM owners. Its newly launched next generation software, joono, enables banks and ATM owners to communicate targeted marketing messages to customers through multiple digital channels, including ATMs, self-service machines, mobile phones and plasma screens. As part of its offering, i-design has a media sales capability, atmAd, which manages third-party advertising campaigns. The company was established in 1991 and launched its marketing solution to financial institutions in 2004.

Houston-based Cardtronics owns and operates more than 62,800 retail ATMs in U.S. and international locales. Whether Cardtronics is driving foot traffic for America's most relevant retailers, enhancing ATM brand presence for card issuers or expanding card holders' surcharge-free cash access on the local, national or global scene, Cardtronics is convenient access to cash, when and where consumers need it.