Defending your ATM

Crimes occurring at ATMs have been on the rise over the past few years.  And the types of crimes are growing. From basic vandalism to skimming and shimming and even pulling the ATM from its base with a forklift.  If you can think it, criminals have tried it. And there are still thousands of ATMs that have not been updated with EMV technology. So, what’s a financial institution to do?  There are a number of things you can do to better defend your ATMs and better protect your investment.

First, make sure you have all the latest security patches available for the machine.  It sounds simple. And it should be. But, you would be surprised what doesn’t get done if you don’t ask.  Criminals poke new holes in software every day. Patches and updates are created once these weaknesses are recognized. So, patches are not a one-time event.  They will be ongoing.

Next, take a look at the ATMs physical structure.  Are there weaknesses in the physical structure that need repair?  Do you have barriers surrounding your island ATMs to prevent physical theft? Are your lobby-style ATMs bolted to the floor?  Is the lighting surrounding your ATM up to code?

What security do you have in place?  Do you have active cameras in and outside your ATM?  What about alarms? Does your ATM alert you if someone has gained access without permission? Do you have anti-skimming devices installed?  These devices aren’t fool proof but make it very difficult if not impossible for a criminal to place their skimming device on the machine.

Many of you have ATMs that need to be replaced due to the coming Windows 10 upgrade.  This is the perfect time to assess the location of your ATM. Is your ATM in public view or around the back or side of the branch?  Could it be moved to a better location? Drive to your ATMs at night and see how safe you feel using it. If you feel a little uncomfortable using your ATM at night, your members probably do as well.  

When you purchase a new ATM, what are you buying? Do you know?  There are many types of ATMs. Some may not be suitable for placement at a financial institution.  The proper ATM will typically cost more money due to its vault, size and weight.

Of course, all of this requires more time and effort from your staff.  Not only that, but you need staff that is knowledgeable. We all know that knowledge comes with experience. And unfortunately, experience comes at a cost.  But, these ATMs are part of your member reach and your brand. These ATMs have your name and logo on them. So, it is critical that they be in good condition for your members to access.  And to keep your fleet (no matter the number of ATMs) operating at optimal levels, you need dedicated staff with the experience and resources to get the job done.

Joe Woods

Joe Woods

Joe Woods, CUDE is a 15-year credit union veteran.  He has spent time with Corporate One FCU, Liberty Enterprises, co-founded Legacy Member Services and was part of the senior management ... Web: Details