Friday, 18 February 2011

How will global ATM growth forecasts impact ATM crime?

At the moment, according to the ATMIA Global ATM Clock, there are 2.2 million ATMs installed worldwide.  My own sources (estimates) indicate some current ATM deployment figures as follows:

North America:   480,000 (22%)
Europe:  388, 482 (18% - Source EAST)
Latin America:  231,000 (11%)
China:   210,000 (10%)
Japan:  121,00 (6%)
Russia:  90,000 (4% - Source EAST)
Others:  653,849 (29%) has just published figures from Global Industry Analysts Inc. that show projected growth of the world total to 3.1 million ATMs by 2015 - that's a staggering 41% growth in less than 6 years.  I have heard from other sources that ATMs in China alone are expected to grow from the current 210,000 to well over 500,000 during this period.  China and India are expected to drive growth in Asia Pacific, and the strongest compounded annual growth is expected to be in the Middle EAST/Africa region.

While not directly comparable to my figures above, Global Industry Analysts forecast the following global ATM deployment by 2015:

Asia/Pacific (including Japan):   1,390,000 (44%)
Europe/Middle EAST/Africa:   897,000 (29%)
North America:    543,000 (17%)
Latin America:     316,000 (10%)

So what does this all mean for ATM crime and particularly fraud? 

Well, with the notable exception of the United States, most of the rest of the world is moving towards EMV (Chip and PIN) for cards and terminals (on 8th November 2010 China UnionPay, the national bank card association, announced that after 2015 magnetic stripe cards will no longer be issued in China).  Chip only cards may increasingly become the global standard.  Until the United States decides to go the same way, it seems likely that criminals will increasingly focus on the United States as a place where it will remain possible to withdraw cash at ATMs using counterfeit cards made from skimmed data obtained globally, while at the same time US banks issuing magnetic stripe only cards will be hit harder and harder with losses, as acquirers with EMV compliant terminals decline liability for losses attributed to skimming at their terminals.  At the same EMV card issuers may increasingly impose regional restrictions on card use, asking their cardholders to opt in to use their cards in countries where the EMV standard has not been adopted.

With regard to other types of crime, because ATMs contain banknotes they will remain a target for physical attacks.  Criminal 'best practice' in some parts of the world will continue to be replicated in other regions - thus it is in the interest of those countries and regions planning a rapid ATM roll out, to draw on the experience of more mature markets, particularly Europe, where regional sharing of crime statistics and crime prevention information has been common place since the formation of the European ATM Security Team (EAST) in 2004. 

The global sharing of timely information by law enforcement agencies and ATM deployers and networks will become more and more important as the global ATM network expands.  Organised criminals will continue to actively operate cross-border in this space - those on the other side of the fence will need to do the same.

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