Ownable word for a new, accessible national ATM


How can a consortium of large Dutch banks connect with users of ATMs to build trust and clarity, without suggesting that there is another banking brand?

Nowadays, less and less people pay with cash, which is why the use of ATM’s is declining. To keep cash available for everybody, ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank are working on a more efficient, bank-dependent network of ATM’s. This way, cash will remain available, affordable and safe for everyone. From 2019 onwards, the ATM’s of three Dutch banks will slowly make place for the ATM’s of Geldmaat. These ATM’s will be evenly spread out in The Netherlands so that everyone can stay withdrawing and easily depositing their money.

Why is ‘Geldmaat’ called ‘Geldmaat’?

Recognizable, familiar and iconic

In Dutch, Geldmaat means ‘money mate’. It also sounds a lot like ‘geldautomaat’, the Dutch word for ATM.

Most people withdraw cash because they want to feel physical ownership of their money. Therefore, it is important that these withdrawals can be done in a trusted way at a familiar ATM. The new ATM is supposed to become an icon in the Dutch streetscape, similar to the orange street mailbox of PostNL. However, the ATM’s do not have one specific endorsement brand, such as PostNL. This is why an own brand identity is needed for people to recognize and trust the ATM’s.

It does not sound like a bank

Besides an own brand identity, it has to become clear that Geldmaat is not a new bank. Geldmaat is an ATM where people can withdraw money of their bank account whilst everyone is still a customer at their own bank. That is why we chose for a clear wording: a name which could also become a dictionary term.

Name proposals to explore various brand strategies

During the naming process, a lot of name alternatives were also considered which represented an alternative strategy. For example, we decided not to choose an international name because Geldmaat is targeted solely to Dutch people. Also, a more associative name would not fit with the public task of the money services of The Netherlands, which is providing service for the customers of the major Dutch banks.

Clarity, for everyone in the Netherlands

Since the search was for a name that makes clear what the product is, the number of options is limited. For instance, few Dutch realize that ‘’pinnen’’ (Dutch for paying by card) is not synonymous with withdrawing money. ‘’Pinnen’’ means paying with your bank card in general, which includes things you buy in the store. This is why the word “pin” immediately was ruled out. Moreover, a descriptive name cannot always be protected.  In order to register a name as trademark, it has to be distinctive from everything else that is already offered. For example, a baker cannot claim the name ‘’Baker’’ for himself only. Besides, for descriptive names, the domains are often not available.

Geldmaat makes it clear where you have to be to withdraw money. Supported by the friendly and distinctive visual design by DesignBridge, a new iconic brand is introduced in the Dutch streets. Geldmaat is registered as trademark in the Benelux trademark register and the relevant domain names are registered for the Dutch money service.