It’s a long, fascinating moment of transition in the world of payments — and for payments around the world. That changing landscape includes virtual wallets, growing P2P payments, and ways to make existing platforms more secure — as with the EMV standards coming to American payment cards this fall.
And of course, the threats and breaches to those new systems and devices can unfortunately become more creative too. Though sometimes, in response, they become more “retro.”
As Pymnts.com is reporting, “just as merchants are cracking down at the point of sale, data thieves are finding a new target from which to skim debit card data – the ATM.” How are they doing it? Not just with electronic means, but mechanical ones:
“The ATM hacks that are cropping up seem to be making use of the time-tested skimming method – in which criminals install devices that capture information from the card’s magnetic stripe. That data is then used to build fake cards that are usable at ATMs or for in-store (and online) purchasing).”
In other words, data thieves are bolting on fake “skimmers” to read the data on those stripes. ATM users need to be aware of anything “fishy” on the machines they use (and probably resist using out-of-the-way machines, to boot). In part, because such old-fashioned data filching methods may continue for awhile.
EMV chips, in theory, should make card counterfeiting harder, but “ATMs are still not onboard with the new technology (though J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. have recently begun to install the more advanced machines). Moreover, ATM operators will not have their equivalent of the liability shift for at least a year (likely more).”
So while liability for merchants comes this fall, ATM providers so far have less incentive to make things more secure.
In the meantime, the nature of payments — and obtaining cash — continue to change. MasterCard has announced “MasterCard Send,” a new platform in the aforementioned P2P world. Through the new platform “businesses, merchants, governments, non-profits, issuers and other senders can send money to consumers whether they are banked or unbanked, and located domestically or abroad.”
In other words, someone doesn’t need a “bank account” to receive money – -they just need a card, or a virtual wallet.
MasterCard says the new “Send” initiative is a response to the Federal Reserve’s call to enhance “the speed, security and efficiency of the U.S. Payments System.”
Part of the Fed’s call stated, simply, that “”a safer, more efficient and faster payment system contributes to public confidence and economic growth.” Hopefully this doesn’t mean that older payment methods will be perceived as unsafe, as new platforms and payment methods emerge.
Though the resurgent ATM skimming does echo the lyrics of the song that “everything old is new again.”