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Europe making headway against card skimming

The European ATM Security Team (EAST) reported last week that fraud is in overall decline at European ATMs – good news for the industry and testament to the investment that has been made in the migration to EMV to date. In the UK, there is also a growing consumer awareness of skimming and the need to protect your PIN at ATM and PoS terminals which has no doubt also had an impact on the reduction in fraud losses.

According to the article on ATMmarketplace, last year total losses reached €268 million (U.S. $388 million), down €44 million compared to 2009. Lachlan Gunn, coordinator of EAST, confirmed that this is the second consecutive year that the figure has dropped.

However, EAST is quick to point out that these statistics are an average for of Europe as a whole. In fact, seven of the 22 countries that are included in the figures experienced higher losses as a result of skimming in 2010 compared to 2009. The message is – do not be complacent.

The statistics will also serve as another round of ammunition for those campaigning in the US market to introduce EMV. Not only does it have its own local fraud to contend with but as more global markets migrate to EMV, criminals attacking the vulnerabilities of the magstripe card are forced to move to those countries, like the US, that present a softer target.

Wells Fargo announced late last week that it would be the first US bank to conduct a pilot to issue chip cards to its frequent traveller customers. Does this signal the start of a wave to adopt the global payment card standard?


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