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Is EMV migration worth the cost?

By : Owen Wild

March 01, 2016 08:30 AM

Has the cost of EMV migration been worth it? It may depend on who you talk to, but according to latest findings from the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), ATM owners and deployers certainly think so. A huge majority of those who have deployed EMV think it has been worth the investment. While the question was not applicable to a third of the respondents to the Global Fraud and Security Survey 2015, there was still nearly 60 percent who said the cost has been worthwhile. “Since global EMV migration is progressing very solidly, this is encouraging to note that it brings down fraud levels,” commented Michael Lee, ATMIA chief executive officer. The apparent fall in skimming attacks, a trend that is in large part due to EMV, is clearly an important factor here. Nevertheless, close to one in ten respondents to the fraud survey, who came from all global markets, think EMV migration was not worth the cost. The question the industry needs to ask is why so many seem unsure about the merits of EMV in the ATM space. In the US and other markets that are transitioning to chip cards, there is some worry about the gap between EMV migration for point-of-sale terminals at retailers and ATMs. While the liability shift for US merchants was October 1st, 2015, for ATMs, the liability shift is October 1st, 2016, for MasterCard and October 1st, 2017 for Visa. But the main source of potential complaint is that EMV simply shifts the fraud vector away from skimming(which EMV largely prevents), towards other low-tech channels such as card trapping (which EMV alone cannot stop) and high-tech channels like malware (which again EMV cannot always prevent). Card-trapping attacks rose by almost a fifth from the first six months of 2014 to the first six months of 2015, according to the European ATM Security Team (EAST). Similarly the ATMIA found card trapping is the main category of ATM fraud on the rise - reported by more than 18 percent of respondents. “What we are seeing as we read these 2015 survey results is a deflection of crime from traditional electronic skimming towards more physical and less sophisticated forms of attack, especially card trapping and Transaction Reversal Fraud,” says Lee. EAST also reported a rise in attacks involving ATM malware, which is spreading as criminals seek new ways to exploit ATM weaknesses. Just as EMV cards apparently led to higher online or card-not-present fraud, the move to chip cards is apparently displacing traditional fraud vectors in the ATM space. Eternal vigilance is required to stay ahead of the criminals.

Owen Wild

Security Marketing Director

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Owen Wild is responsible for marketing strategies for the NCR Security Solutions within NCR’s Financial Solution Portfolio. Over the past 15 years, Owen has held several sales and marketing positions with leading travel and tech cos.