More than 650 ATM industry stakeholders attended The National ATM Council's sixth annual convention and expo held in October at Bally's Las Vegas. Bruce Renard, NAC executive director, attributed the not-for-profit association's year-over-year growth to its hard-working staff and committee members and an expanding roster of sponsors, exhibitors, members and supporters.
Renard thanked NAC members who participated in the council's "ATMs across America" initiative, who traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with key policymakers. Their input provided federal bank regulators and ranking members of Congress with insight into ATM-related issues, he said. George Sarantopoulos, chair of NAC's board of directors and CEO of Access One, said progress has been made on many fronts, but independent ATM deployers and operators continue to face bank closures and legislative challenges. "We also are remaining ever vigilant to thwart adverse state and local legislation and ordinances that continue to pop up around the country and target our industry," he stated.
Visa Inc. executives Goran Ribar, director, global strategic initiatives, and Hitesh Patel, senior director, global commercial planning and analysis, presented Visa's new global policy of authorizing dynamic currency conversion (DCC) at U.S. ATMs. The card brand has supported DCC in other global markets and will support the practice in the United States beginning in April 2019. NAC's recent petition to Visa in support of DCC was a contributing factor in the decision, they stated.
"In evaluating all aspects of the decision, one concern was that [Visa] cardholders would have a suboptimal experience, but we mitigated that concern by putting together a comprehensive program that will require processors to certify their solutions before offering DCC," Ribar said. Ribar expects the program to be a win-win for all participants, providing consumers with pricing transparency and ATM acquirers and operators with additional revenue streams. "Cardholders must be able to view all relevant information and have a record of the transaction when they leave the premises," he added.
NAC members were informed in other presentations about new opportunities in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, gaming, and sports betting. Flash demonstrations provided insights into a variety of emerging technologies. Following are additional conference highlights:
NAC security committee chair Stephen Joseph, business development manager, banking and finance at Axis Communications, introduced several security discussions as part of NAC's Security Academy program. Speakers included:
Sarantopoulos said next year's conference will be held Oct. 15 to 17, 2019, in Las Vegas. He urged NAC members to help the organization address the industry's most pressing issues and establish a grass roots network that protects the interests of the entire ATM industry value chain.
NAC's conference series reflects the diversity, technology and resilience of ATM operators, Sarantopoulos noted. "We have managed to survive the challenging introduction of EMV [Europay, Mastercard and Visa] in America," he said. "Little did we know that our greatest challenge would turn out to not to be EMV, but instead just being able to keep a bank account."
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