ATM tech, security, Bitcoin ATMs earn top spots in 2021 blogs

This is part of a series looking at the top stories of 2021. Click here for the story on the top five articles.

Every year we at ATM Marketplace get qualified blogs from thought leaders in the ATM and financial technology industries. 2021 was no exception as bloggers covered topics ranging from Bitcoin ATMs to skimmers to biometrics.

In particular, the top most read blog for 2021 looked at digital skimming and how it is rapidly becoming the most dangerous and lucrative form of cybercrime. Another story looked at things ATM operators should consider before buying into bitcoin.

The top blogs also looked at personal topics, such as a story by Richard Buckle, founder and CEO of Pyalla Technologies LLC, who had a check rejected at an ATM.

It’s time to take a look back at the top five most read blogs on ATM Marketplace. They are posted in reverse order. You can click the blog’s titles to read the story in full.

  1. 5 things ATM operators should consider before buying into bitcoin

Popularized by Millennials and the unbanked, bitcoin offers a safer alternative investment as the markets adapt to accommodate the latest challenges in this ever-evolving economy.

As a result of the current environment, you might be thinking to yourself that now is an excellent time to consider adding bitcoin to your ATM offerings. And you would be right, but there are a few things you need to consider before implementing bitcoin kiosks.

It might seem like choosing an ATM provider is simple enough. From high-dollar payouts to supposed “guarantees,” you might feel like the choice is obvious for you. Of course, with the right marketing and advertising, any of those providers can sound like the perfect fit; however, as with most things, “too good to be true” is very true. Here is a closer look at the five main things to consider when thinking about adding bitcoin service to your ATMs.

  1. Biometrics: The next step forward in ATM security

What if you didn’t have to remember a PIN or worry about someone skimming your card every time you went to use an ATM?

Passwords are easy to forget, and they can be a pain to recover, especially if you are in a hurry. The idea behind biometrics is that they only rely on some measure of your body, which is unique to each person. If implemented correctly, you don’t need a password or even a smart card to access cash.

Biometrics promise a smoother customer experience and reductions in fraud. The technology is big business, too. The biometric market is expected to be worth $32.7 billion by 2022.

What follows are the basic types of biometrics that are being used or piloted on ATMs today and a few of their drawbacks.

  1. ATMs in 2021: Change is on the horizon

While ATM usage declined during COVID-19 due to shutdowns and concerns over cleanliness, the world is starting to return to a “new normal” and as this occurs, the ATM will be a lifeline to demographics who are not comfortable with digital banking, or who are reliant on cash.

ATMs, far from simply serving utilitarian, transactional purposes can, in fact, become relationship-building tools for banks that opt to add capabilities such as two-way video, account opening, instant card issuing, check book printing and other multifunction technologies.

In the future, the potential exists for the ATM to be a teller machine. Rather than simply a source of cash, self-service technology can be at the heart of the redefinition of the retail banking experience provided 24-hours per day wherever there is demand.

  1. My transaction was rejected – and it was a deposit!

As much as has been written about the death of cash, there seems to be little evidence of any major change in the status quo. Richard Buckle, founder and CEO of Pyalla Technologies LLC, found this out the hard way when he tried to deposit a check at an ATM and received an error message, “Check rejected for technical reasons.”

  1. Digital skimming: the lucrative cybercrime

Digital skimming is one of the major hidden threats to any business. With social distancing rules still in effect, companies are increasingly interacting with their customers over digital channels such as websites and mobile apps. Even traditional brick-and-mortar businesses such as restaurants are now letting customers pre-order and pay for meals online.

Anytime there is a digital transaction, the business has to collect personal data from the user. This data could include names, email addresses, passwords, phone numbers, payment card data and verification codes. And this data is most vulnerable at the point of entry.

Digital skimming, or magecart attacks, as they are more commonly known, steal this information right at the source as the user types it into a web form or a mobile app. The business is often unaware that this happened since the information was skimmed from the user’s computer as opposed to the company’s servers. The lack of visibility means that the attacks often go undetected for weeks or months, while hackers yield a rich bounty of credit card numbers to sell on the dark web. Researchers estimate that the loot from a 2019 magecart attack on a major e-commerce platform could net the fraudsters up to $130 million.

The economics behind such attacks are so lucrative that there are toolkits now available on the dark web that will enable even the most inexperienced hackers to run digital skimming operations. Nation states facing financial sanctions are also trying to tap into this alternate revenue source by launching their own skimming operations.