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UK Banks should do more to protect ATMs

Over the past month or so, I've been to a couple of banking and EFTPOS conferences, at which representatives of international companies have announced trials of enhanced security at bank ATMs around the world.

In India, for example, fingerprint-enhanced cash machines are being used in rural areas to replace PINs.

In Australia, all ATMs have been enhanced with anti-skimming technology, as against just 20 per cent of cash machines in the UK.

And in the US MasterCard, which operates the Cirrus/Maestro network, has implemented the world's first full feature fraud analysis program for ATM withdrawals.

And here in the UK, APACS, the bank-owned and operated payments consortium, has issued figures saying that ATM fraud has risen significantly and asks bank customers to take more care.

This isn't good enough. Mark Sunner, the CTO of MessageLabs, told me recently that water companies don't expect consumers to have to boil the water coming out of their taps, so why should broadband users have to secure their own Internet connections.

He was, of course, pointing out that the ISPs should protect consumers against the problems of spam and viruses.

I'll extend that analogy to the banks. Why should consumers have to `take more care' when using an ATM?

It's the bank's responsibility to ensure that ATMs are free from skimming devices and fraud. With only one in five UK machines protected against skimming, it's clear they're shirking their responsibilities...