ATM Machines Could Soon Become Massive Targets For Fraud

Banco Comercial Portugues ATM Millennium BCP PortugalA woman stands in front of a ATM as another one leaves the Millenium bcp bank in Lisbon, Portugal.

Photo: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

MasterCard officials expanded its roadmap for EMV debit and credit card technology to include automatic teller machines.After October 2016, banks can hold ATM operators liable for fraudulent withdrawals and cash advances from debit and credit cards.

MasterCard’s announcement was the first to specifically address ATM operators, who had been waiting for the kind of details already provided to store owners and gas station operators.

In a statement to reporters, MasterCard spokesman Mike Weitzman said that payment fraud usually shifts to the “least secure channel.” With most merchants expected to adopt contactless EMV card readers before the end of 2015, ATMs could become a target for criminals who manufacture fake debit and credit cards using cloned magnetic stripe data. Technology roadmaps previously announced by MasterCard, Visa, andAmerican Express include a “liability shift” that forces merchants to pay for preventable fraud.

The announcement gives banks, ATM operators, and equipment manufacturers more than four years to cycle EMV cards and equipment into circulation. Bank of America, PNC, Wells Fargo, Citi, and Chase have already started including contactless EMV chips in new debit and credit cards. Citi and Chase also issue first-generation EMV credit cards for select travel and business credit cards, such as the British Airways Signature Visa Card and the Citi Executive/AAdvantage World EliteTM MasterCard.

EMV payment cards linked to shrinking fraud losses in Europe
While not immune from fraud, EMV-enabled debit and credit cards require much more sophistication to clone, compared to the magnetic stripe cards popular among Americans today. MasterCard helped standardize the technology in Europe, first with embedded smart chips and later with PayPass-branded contactless chips.

Payment platform providers have stated that they will not require the “chip-and-PIN” authentication system that has become a standard throughout Europe. However, a similar liability shift for European retailers has resulted in very few retailers outside major tourist destinations willing to accept cards with magnetic stripes. A Federal Reserve study shows consistent decreases in debit and credit card fraud in the UK after 2005, the year that banks there started holding merchants responsible for fraudulent transactions.

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