Please look though our current and past newsletters for the United States region to keep up to date on latest news.
Our industry has complained loudly for many years that "the penalty should fit the crime". When the crime involves theft from an ATM or theft of the ATM, even along with its entire contents, that rarely happens. Unless the same criminal group is crossing state lines to commit multiple crimes, in multiple jurisdictions.
One of the most dramatic consequences of the recent COVID-19 pandemic has not received very much attention. U.S. banks have closed more than 4,000 branches since March of 2020, which doubled the pre-pandemic rate of 99 per month over the previous 10 years, to a new high of 201 per month. A recently released NCRC (National Community Reinvestment Coalition) study noted that “Small businesses still depend on in-person banking services despite the proliferation of online alternatives, and the shrinking of branch networks threatens local economic activity that is key to wealth-building in marginalized communities.”
Stateside Associates legislative and regulatory monitoring services have been renewed for 2022. Even if you have been a regular recipient of the legislative alerts, you may not be aware of the other information available as part of our relationship with Stateside. This includes an interactive map that shows every state for which we have received alerts, and the number of bills introduced during the current legislative session. Smaller states are listed on the right.
Steal a pair of blue jeans or $10,000 from an ATM and the penalty, if you are caught, may be the same. ATM theft is often considered a property crime – committed in the dead of night when no one else is around and without the use of weapons. Sentences are often at the misdemeanor level. As a result, perpetrators are usually out on the street in short order and committing more crimes.
Next month’s ATMIA U.S. Conference is all about an exciting focus on the future of the ATM industry – and you will certainly want to be part of it. The Next Generation of ATMs is already emerging, ushering in a new user experience, increased functionality, enhanced security, and more opportunities to grow revenue. And this is where you will learn more about how that is going to happen.
What a great way to end the year and three years of effort! On December 1, the FFIEC issued a press release and announced revised language and updates to the BSA/AML bank examination manual. Significant changes were made to four different sections of the manual, including Independent Automated Teller Machine Owners or Operators. The revision is very well done and should be quite helpful in improving relationships between bankers and IADs.
Of benefit to the entire U.S. ATM industry . . .
Keeping track of legislative activity at the State level is a very challenging task. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 109,000 bills are introduced at the state level – every year! And buried within that avalanche of legislative activity will be 100 or so bills that have potentially significant impact on the ATM industry.
The 23rd annual ATMIA U.S. Conference next February will be a very special one – celebrating the 25th anniversary of ATMIA. You don't want to miss this.
Every segment of the industry will be represented. IADs, financial institutions, cryptocurrency, ATM manufacturers, processors, communications, service and maintenance, insurance, cash management, and every other type of provider that “touches” ATMs during their life-cycle will all be there, February 8-10, 2022, in Orlando FL at Universal Studios.
Financial institutions face their own set of unique challenges in fighting ATM crime – and crime in the self-service channel is changing. For many years, card skimming has been the top priority. But as successful deployment of countermeasures has put a dent in skimming activity, significant increases in physical attacks and low-tech fraud are creating new priorities. Even explosive attacks, once rare in the U.S. market, are becoming more common – as is the collateral damage that accompanies them.
If you attended last month's USA conference, you participated in the ATM industry's return to in-person events and networking. And we are not done yet – two more events are very close on the horizon.
Our return to Las Vegas was tentative, at best, for a painfully long stretch of time. But in the end, the timing turned out to be perfect. Requirements for social distancing and wearing a mask were lifted on June 1, allowing for an environment that felt quite normal.
Just last week, Colorado became the fifth state to require that retail establishments accept cash as a form of payment for in-person transactions. Others that have previously implemented such requirements include New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts (which has had this requirement in place for quite some time). The cities of Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and San Francisco have local cashless bans in place.
If you have been following progress of the Consortium for NextGen ATMs, you already know that expectations are very high for increased functionality at both bank and retail ATMs. And that is not a typo – retail (non-bank) ATMs are included within those expectations. In fact, a Proof of Concept (POC) is already underway to demonstrate that such equipment can become NextGen compliant at reasonable cost.
It is very satisfying to see quite a significant surge in efforts to ban cashless retail locations at the state level – and so early within the legislative sessions. Undoubtedly there is strong grass-roots support for these measures. Pennsylvania and Maryland actually pre-filed bills toward the end of last year, to be introduced in this session. The City of Philadelphia already has its own ban on cashless retail.
I am sure that there are many of us who had wonderful things happen in their lives this past year. For most of us, though, we are happy to see 2020 in our rear view mirror and the promises of the year to come before us. Including, hopefully, an end to the pandemic.
Operation Choke Point (OCP) is an initiative kicked off in March 2013 by the Department of Justice (DoJ) Consumer Protection Working Group to stop banks and payment processors from providing financial services to merchants that were suspected of consumer fraud. Although independent ATM deployers (IADs) were not specifically indicated as targets of OCP, as cash-based payment businesses IADs have had their cash and settlement accounts closed simply because those accounts allegedly meet some of the warning signs FIs have been instructed to look for – specifically, significant fluctuation in the amount of funds flowing thru the account from month to month.
Are you ready for some in-person networking? An exhibit hall full of new technologies and opportunity? The industry’s best educational program? Then mark your calendar now and plan to attend the largest and most prestigious ATM event in the world.
The Consortium for NextGen ATMs is an ATMIA managed project that most of you are aware of – and nearly 400 organizations world-wide are participating in. It guides the evolution of the ATM into a future utilizing an app- and API-based architecture, which will profoundly change and improve the consumer’s experience. Not to mention the benefits it holds for ATM operators – lower costs, greater functionality, new revenue opportunities, and enhanced interoperability. Undeniably, a great concept.
The anti-cash factions of the payments industry wasted no time with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, quickly sowing fear over the alleged ability of cash to serve as an effective transmission vector. Although most such statements were quickly debunked, they did serve to temporarily restrict the use of cash by some retail establishments. Which in turn, significantly inconvenienced many consumers who rely solely on cash for their transactions.
Even the task of routine ATM security has been radically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there are some reports of declines in skimming, physical attacks, explosive attacks, and vandalism have spiked, as well as some of the more sophisticated logical attacks. The ATMIA 2020 U.S. Security Virtual Conference will help you better understand the current ATM crime landscape and better prepare for post-pandemic security challenges.
One of the more recent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken everyone by surprise, is the shortage of coins. Yes - that form of cash that is the least favored by most everyone; quarters, dimes, nickels, and even pennies.
Should the ATM channel even care about the direction of so-called ‘Faster Payments”? The first reaction for some might be to wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, how much faster can an ATM transaction get, than it already is? And would it really matter? The answer is ‘Yes’ – and we should care a lot. The real excitement and enthusiasm for Faster Payments is about the ‘rails’ that they would travel – not necessarily the few seconds it might shave off of transaction times.
Committee participation is one of the most valuable benefits of your ATMIA membership. Are you involved in one of those committee groups? No? You are missing out on a lot of good opportunities.
Committees aren't just a means of keeping up with the industry, hearing about current issues, or making sure you know what new resources ATMIA has made available. It is a gathering place where you can really get to know your colleagues. There may be a few that you have met, because your footprints overlap in one spot or another. But there are many others who you otherwise might never meet.
With reports from independent operators that up to 95% of some fleets are currently inaccessible, ATMIA is deeply concerned about its members and helping them through these challenging times. We responded very quickly to the "need to know" by standing up a Coronavirus alerts and updates page on our website. And broke the news that DHS had included ATM operators on the list of essential workers.
One topic I never expected to be addressing as the U.S. newsletter's lead is the coronavirus. But as many of you are experiencing, as well, we are receiving lots of calls about events and other activities that might be impacted.
The latest and biggest news on the cashless front is that the New York City Council passed a bill on January 23, 2020 that makes it the largest city to require retail establishments to accept cash as a form of payment. Although there has been no formal comment from the mayor’s office, he is expected to sign the measure into law. The original proposal to ban cashless retail establishments in New York City was introduced more than a year ago.
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