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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

NAC brings help, hope to retail ATM sector

The National ATM Council Inc. took decisive action to support the retail ATM industry during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to helping secure essential worker status for independent ATM deployers (IADs) and service providers, the not-for-profit trade association is working with private and government sectors to provide consumers and business owners with fundamental services and safe access to cash, NAC representatives stated.

"I'm proud of NAC for stepping up to help America's independent retail ATM community," said NAC chair George Sarantopoulos. "To think that only 2 to 3 months ago our biggest concern was upgrading machines. Now we need to figure out as an industry how we move ahead in a 'new normal,' for our collective wellbeing."

While the nationwide shutdown has impacted all but a few of NAC members, Sarantopoulos noted that IADs are resilient and never run away from a challenge. He added that this is not the first "new normal" for the ATM industry. The community rallied to deliver essential services after 9/11, and is again providing convenient, safe access to cash nationwide, he stated.

Multiple initiatives

Given heightened concerns about safe handling of cash during the pandemic, NAC is working with terminal manufacturers and industry experts to develop safety guidelines and distribute scientific data about U.S. currency. These efforts and public outreach helped the World Health Organization disavow reports linking cash usage to COVID-19, Sarantopoulos noted.

Following are additional initiatives undertaken by NAC members and board of directors:

  • Personnel safety: Led by NAC executive director Bruce Renard, NAC staff, board members, committees, working groups and government affairs representatives are working with national and global public health agencies, the Federal Reserve, Secret Service/Homeland Security, and Congress to protect member safety during the pandemic. Efforts are ongoing as Capitol Hill considers additional relief options.

  • Essential worker/small business relief: NAC is working with government officials to ensure ATM businesses are deemed "essential businesses" eligible for financial relief under the CARE Act and other federal legislation. NAC provided members with information about financial relief at local/state/federal levels and helped members navigate bank-imposed cash withdrawal limits and misclassifications that block access to SBA loans.

  • Consumer choice: NAC spearheaded creation of the Consumer Choice in Payments Coalition. CCPC members are advocating for congressional passage of The Payment Choice Act of 2019, which is legislation designed to preserve cash as a payments option at U.S. retail establishments. In a recent statement, the CCPC cited scientific evidence that cloth/linen-based U.S. currency is more germ proof than non-porous plastic payment cards and mobile phones.

  • Advocacy funding campaign: NAC is accepting donations to support its advocacy initiatives, which include efforts to restore bank account access, manage an ongoing antitrust case against Visa and Mastercard, improve transparency and disclosure of bank-imposed "foreign ATM fees," and implement new standards for touchless/biometric ATM transactions.

Additional information on NAC initiatives is available at www.natmc.org.

NAC2020 conference and expo

NAC will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the days and months leading to the NAC2020 conference and expo, event organizers stated. Scheduled to convene Oct. 27 to 29, 2020, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the event has drawn a growing number of attendees, exhibitors and sponsors each year since its inception in 2012. 

Given current uncertainties, NAC conference committee members are developing a virtual conference and expo contingency plan in the event that health and safety circumstances pre-empt a physical gathering. Additional details on the official opening and NAC2020 registration will soon be available, they stated.

"We know how important this event has become to ATM Nation and our collective future," Sarantopoulos said. "Please know that NAC is committed to providing our industry with a great conference and expo event, whether we are together physically or virtually." end of article

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