Shape memory alloy (SMA) thin films are used as actuator materials in MEMS due to their unique properties. Binary thin films with a composition close to Ni50Ti50 are well-established materials, whereas ternaries like NiTiCu, NiTiPd, NiTiHf are less studied. Furthermore, new alloys are being developed which show a magnetic shape memory effect, e.g. Ni2MnGa. For the optimization of known, and the development of new, SMA thin films, a fast and reliable characterization technology is needed, which rapidly identifies the transformation temperatures (i.e. martensite and austenite start and finish temperatures) for a range of material compositions deposited on a whole wafer. In this paper, automated temperature-dependent resistance measurements are discussed as a means which yields the thermal hysteresis of the investigated thin films. Results of monitoring the uniformity of shape memory film depositions on the wafer level, as well as results on the use of this method as a tool for screening for new SMA films by characterization of materials libraries are reported.