NEW YORK CITY -- The National ATM Council Inc. presented compelling testimony to the New York City Council's Committee on Consumer Affairs during a Jan. 12 hearing. At issue is a proposed ordinance that would impose new security regulations on nonbank ATMs throughout the city. The regulations, which are widely seen as costly and burdensome by the industry, target independent operators. Banking institutions would be exempt from the rules.
If the new regulations were enacted, ATM deployers would require a written contract with location owners that dictates exact placement of a machine within locations. Lighting standards and mandatory video surveillance over ATMs are part of the contract, and would be subject to strict specifications, including retention of recorded images for a mandated length of time. NAC officials said implementation of the regulations would not achieve the stated goals of safer ATMs. Rather, it would result in the removal of units from service and higher costs to consumers who would use remaining ATMs.
"The industry has been hard at work on these very same security issues and we've made real world progress without the need for a costly 'one-size-fits-all' regulatory approach," NAC executive director Bruce Renard told the Big Apple's legislators. "NAC has provided compelling evidence that retail ATMs are safer for consumers to use versus unattended outdoor bank ATMs, and we will continue working hard to keep it that way."
Renard also presented information at the hearing about the increase in crime in other countries, even though they made the switch from magnetic stripe card to the more secure EMV chip. The global pattern, which the U.S. is now experiencing, Renard explained, is historically short-lived. In recognition of the short-term threat triggered by EMV implementation, he said, NAC is working proactively with the merchant community and implementing "best practices" for maximizing security at retail ATMs throughout the U.S.
"Rather than unnecessary and costly regulations, the Council should pursue stronger criminal penalties and enforcement programs to apprehend, prosecute and incarcerate those who seek to commit crimes against ATMs and ATM consumers in the city," added newly elected NAC chair George Sarantopulos of Access One ATM Inc. (Brooklyn). "NAC is committed to making sure our industry sector stays ahead of the curve when it comes to keeping retail ATMs completely safe and secure for consumers."
NAC will be working with Brooklyn councilman Rafael Espinal, who chairs the Committee on Consumer Affairs, and other committee members to formulate alternatives that will more effectively enhance ATM security while not inadvertently harming the city's ATM businesses, merchants and consumers.
NAC is a not-for-profit national trade association dedicated to ethically and effectively representing the business interests of ATM owners, operators and suppliers.
DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: Jim Shrayef (l.) of Everything ATM (Brooklyn) and Bruce Renard, executive director of the National ATM Council Inc., recently appeared before the New York City Council to make their case regarding proposed regulations of ATMs.