Drones in Banking

by Afiq Bahruddin

Is it possible to utilise drone in the banking and finance sector? If we can, what exactly can drones be used for? Find out more in this article.

Over the years, we have often heard that drones are currently being used extensively in heavy industries such as agriculture, construction and so on.

Seldom enough we would hear that drones are being utilised in the insurance industry or banking sector.

This week, we will be exploring the current and the possible applications of drones in the banking sector, of how exactly drones are utilised to help banks or financial service providers to assess risks and making the correct decision.

Insurance claim assessment

One of the possible applications of drone technology that can be adopted by banks is using it for insurance claimant process by the clients. This is first adopted by USAA (United Services Automobile Association), a financial institution based in San Antonio, United States.

In 2016, USAA has started to use drones to inspect homes for damages which will streamline insurance claims and reduce the cost of processing them, as well as time that members wait for repairs.

This process is normally done manually and in case of roof inspection, it can be labour-intensive and carry great risks to the technician and not to mention, time-consuming.

The data captured by the drone can give a better and bigger understanding for damage assessment process and then translated into cost estimates that are more reliable which then will be handed to repair contractor. It is believed by this, more money flow can be kept in check to prevent leakages and misuses.

Reducing physical banking

Banks in Russia and Poland have considered using drones to deliver cash to their client base in their effort to reduce physical ATM and cash dispensers.

Image via Prineta

Mobile ATM has been a concept taken by banks around the world, to extend the reach of banking, carried on armoured van to ensure safety.

It is absolutely possible to use drones as a means to support the ATM mobilisation but there are a few things needed to be considered such as safety, cost-efficiency and the reach.

The main concern in safety is that the UAV system can be jammed with signal jammer devices such as drone jammer gun possibly used by criminals to rob off the drone money carrier.

This can be overcome by building drones with high resistance towards signal jammer. This way, risks of drone being shot down can be reduced and ensure cash machines can be delivered and returned safely. But this would require R&D process to build signal jammer resistant drone which will translate to cost of investment.

Cost efficiency is also another factor to consider when implementing drone cash delivery. On the surface, it might look cost-effective compared to physical ATM which would need you to place the ATM in every 5 km radius.

Physical ATM creates cost to banks to set up the machine, paying rent for the ATM placement, hiring security services to monitor the premise as well and to top up the cash into the machine and so on.

Similarly, drone ATM would have underlying costs such as setting up takeoff and landing sites, drone maintenance, similar in implementing drone delivery system.

The reach and power capacity of the drone might be other issues that would be to be addressed when considering to set up mobile ATM by drones. Most commercial drones in the market on average have up to 5 – 7 km radius of flying from the control system.

This range is easily covered by ATM mounted on vans, and it can easily go beyond that. The only advantage that drones have hear is that drones use battery which is a cleaner energy compared to diesel-fueled vans.

Power capacity for drones in the market is around 30 minutes, which means the battery cells powering the drones can only last about 30 minutes on average. We must not forget that here, the battery must also provide a significant part of its supply to power the cash machine attached to the drone.

All of these factors have to be taken into account when considering to implement drone ATM machines, not to mention possible hiccups from regulation and risks of technology breach.

Other Possible Applications

Resource efficiency—Drones can increase inspection efficiency by up to 85 per cent,14 insurance companies can significantly reduce the number of field adjusters and better balance deployment of specialized, high-skill resources.

Fraud reduction—Drones can help counter fraudulent claims, which amount to $32 billion each year.15


Drone technology is penetrating every industry as it’s efficiency and potentials are widely recognised and attested.

Every day, banks are trying to humanise and simplify their operation to better serve the mass, and drones hold big potential to further this process. Although the idea of drone services in the banking and financial landscape can be out of context and far-fetched, it is possible it can drastically change the way we do transaction in the near future.

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