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Personal and financial security is a serious issue in today's fast-moving and technologically complex world. And for many, the apparent ease with which criminals can gain access to passwords, PINs and other personal data is a constant concern.

This is especially true for emerging payment technologies. Proof of the ability to keep data secure is essential to gaining consumer trust and — and access to their wallets. But while new technologies are working overtime to garner consumer confidence, security risks and procedures are often being overlooked when it comes to long-established technologies such as the ATM.

ATM users rely heavily on the ATM operator for the safety of their financial information — and even of their very person. Consumers prove their trust every time they use a machine. The second that system fails to keep them safe, trust is lost.

Providing an extra layer of security to protect consumers' financial security is important to ensuring both consumer peace-of-mind brand stability.

Here are five ways to help ensure the security of consumers and the brand:

ATM placement — Criminals look for easy targets. Creating an open environment around the ATM makes robbery and ATM skimming fraud more difficult to conceal, deterring a greater number of crimes. Look to site ATMs in high-visibility, well-lit locations. Busy retail and convenience stores, office building lobbies, train stations, airports and other high-traffic locations are ideal.

The camera adds 10 pounds — and a ton of recognition — There is a reason why many gas stations post signs that read, "Smile! You're on Camera!" Criminals don't want to be recognized, but in a public setting, an individual hiding his face with a hat, sunglasses, scarf or mask is going to draw some attention. This means that a thief must run at least some risk of identification.

Strategically placed security cameras can help deter illegal activity and, when it does occur, can assist in capturing the perpetrator. And actually reviewing security video can help an ATM operator detect when a skimming device, card catcher or other illegal device has been placed on a machine. The best time to prevent financial fraud is before it takes place.

Monitor ATMs — Regular maintenance and inspection of machines can also assist in detecting the placement of skimming devices and other irregular devices. And real-time tracking and monitoring of transactions and activity at the ATM activity can indicate when something suspicious is going on.

Provide additional security measures — Cameras and placement are great on the backend, but how can an ATM deployer regulate the user's actions to help them keep themselves safe?

Providing mirrors on or near the ATM can help make consumers more aware of their surroundings. Also, clearly defined waiting and action areas, such as a painted box or roped square around the ATM provide a personal space border that most people unconsciously observe. When they don't, that's an indication to the ATM user of a potential problem. 

Keep Consumers Informed — Keeping customers and members informed of security measures that have been taken for their protection helps relay the message that the brand is concerned with ATM user's security, and can help to reduce a consumer's sense of vulnerability. Offering consumers security advice through printed collateral, email awareness campaigns and regular conversation can also prevent many potential security threats.

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Latest posts by Rebecca Hellmann
Rebecca Hellmann
Rebecca Hellmann is the marketing manager for Welch ATM, an independent ATM company that currently manages more than 20,000 ATMs throughout the United States.
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