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The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 09, 2023 • Issue 23:10:01

What to know about ATM upgrades, PCI mandates and more

By Maya Fuentes
Paramount Management Group

Whether you own and operate ATMs or manage a financial institution (FI), we all have one thing in common—the headache of ongoing ATM updates. While it would be great if we could avoid the additional costs, time and energy that go into keeping our fleets up to date, the nature of technology has three inescapable facts:

  1. Consumers rely on ATMs.
  2. Financial and technology equipment, by their nature, are a target for criminal activity.
  3. ATMs must be kept safe for consumer use.

Unfortunately, criminals are always working to find new ways to gain access to consumer information in order to steal money. And, as operators of consumer-facing financial equipment, ATM deployers and FIs must take appropriate steps to protect ATM users.

Not implementing appropriate security measures puts customer data and their money at risk. This is especially true of machines still running outdated operating systems, have exposed external access points or have outdated PIN pads. All these situations make machines an easier target for hackers.

With all the changes coming to ATMs—software and ATM lines being discontinued, PCI compliance, plus end of support of Microsoft Windows 10 software in mid-October 2025—FIs and ATM deployers should take notice, and action.

First, to take the edge off

NCR's Edge is the first to go. The company is ending support of its software at the close of 2023 and replacing it with Activate Enterprise. FIs also need to worry about replacing NCR SelfServ 30 series machines. These popular ATMs and ITMs, launched in 2008, are being phased out as of the end of 2024.

That's right, both the software and the hardware associated with the popular NCR ATM line will be out of date as of Dec. 31, 2024. And while Diebold has already upgraded its software, its popular line of Opteva ATMs, launched in 2003, is also reaching end of life on the same date.

Both Diebold and NCR picked a surprisingly advantageous time to sunset key equipment in their lineups. You see, we're all going to have to either update or replace those ATMs and ITMs anyway.

PCI requirements hitting hard

New mandates from the PCI Security Standards Council require a significant upgrade to ATM PIN pads and data encryption—effective Dec. 31, 2024 for hardware, and Jan. 1, 2025 for software and firmware.

The new PIN pads must use TR31 Phase 3 key blocks to offer better security for data infrastructure and the protection of personal identification numbers. The goal of this upgrade is, of course, to make it harder for hackers to exploit weaknesses in payment data encryption. Most new machines are already equipped with the latest PIN pad technology and software. However, like every other ATM upgrade, older machines will need hardware or software upgrades—or both. Then there are the models that are simply beyond the capability of supporting the latest update and must be replaced.

What to do now?

Two major factors affect ATM deployers and FIs managing an ATM upgrade of this caliber: planning and resources. But neither of these needs to be an obstacle in ensuring the safety of consumers or businesses. Options are available to ease the burden of this and future upgrades ... because we all know they're coming.

Banks and credit unions that are sick and tired of spending time and money on seemingly endless ATM operational concerns (plus upgrades) might benefit from an outsourcing program. This solution leverages a single, trusted ATM deployer partner to take over the compliance, operations and day-to-day management of one or more machines. This way, the burden of capital expense, up-time, and upgrades falls on the shoulders of a known vendor partner, not on the budget and time of the FI. ATM deployers don't have to go it alone in the perpetual upgrade cycle, either. Larger industry partners are ready and willing to work with independent operators for the future success of their businesses. These companies offer a variety of benefits, including access to better, more leveraged pricing; a larger impact in negotiation with vendor partners as well as potential retail or financial locations; and access to a wider-range, more robust service organization.

Ensuring ATMs offer reliable and safe financial access to consumers can be a heavy burden. Ongoing updates, upgrades and mandates make it a chore. But neither FIs nor ATM deployers have to carry the burden alone. Even in the face of these quickly approaching changes, opportunities exist to improve operations, budget, and the bottom line.

With myriad changes coming to ATMs, including PCI compliance, ATM deployers and FIs don't have to go it alone. end of article

With more than two decades of executive level sales and operations experience in the payment processing arena, Maya Fuentes serves as Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing with Paramount Management Group. In her current position, she is an integral part of the executive management team, manages the company's sales and marketing efforts, and specializes in mergers and acquisitions. Connect with Maya via email at maya.fuentes@paramountmgp.com or through LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/maya-fuentes-atms/.

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