• From the Vault

It’s Time to Assess Your ATM’s Safety

February 12, 2018

ATM security has been in the news recently, so now is a good time to take stock of the security measures you have in place to protect the machine against fraud and theft, as well as protect customers who are using it.

All ATM Locations

Whether your ATM is located inside or outside your bank, consider these safety measures for added protection.

  • Maintenance: If maintenance on the machine is required, be sure branch employees are made aware of it ahead of time. A branch employee should call a specific individual at the bank or the manufacturer to confirm the legitimacy any service visit, since fraudsters have been posing as “authorized ATM representatives.” Additionally, ensure the key to access the machine is specific to that ATM, and is not a “universal key” for a generic lock.
  • Alarmed top hats: Consider installing metal top hats with contact alarms. Alarms should be designed to activate at the earliest possible sign of tampering, and should be incorporated into the bank’s main alarm system.
  • Cameras: Clean and inspect cameras inside the machine to confirm that they are properly able to scan and record the area right outside of the ATM. Also, confirm that other external cameras are positioned so that they are in sight of the ATM.
  • Card reader detection: Consider installing a detection system that sends an alert or shuts down the ATM when anything is attached to the card reader or key pad. Also, the card reader should be physically inspected for skimmers each time the ATM is reloaded.
  • Networks: If software patches are available for your ATM’s system, make sure they are downloaded regularly and kept up-to-date.

In addition to the precautions above, the following safety measures can be taken for machines in specific locations.

Drive-up ATMS

  • Guideposts should be brightly colored, freshly painted and well-maintained.
  • Beware the “ram raid.” Anchor the machine to the structure and the ground. The machine should be alarmed and equipped with a GPS tracker.
  • In winter weather locations, make sure the area leading into and out of the ATM is cleared of snow and ice, and is well salted or sanded to prevent vehicles from sliding when entering or exiting the area.

Walk-up/Controlled Access ATMs

  • Make sure the ATM is in an open area that is well-lit with no landscaping, signage or dividers obstructing the view to the machine.
  • Walkways should be well-maintained and the surface area should be in good condition.
  • In areas that experience winter weather, ensure snow and ice are removed completely and the area is well salted and sanded to help prevent slips and falls.
  • Test and maintain the controlled access system, including inspections to look for skimmers on the access point hardware.

Wherever your ATM is located, examining the machine and surrounding area should be part of your daily routine. Address any concerns or maintenance issues quickly to protect your business and your customers.



This article is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or risk management advice. Readers should consult their own counsel for such advice.

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