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Monday, December 09, 2013

Open ATMs- Safer ATM design?

After the ATM attack incident in Bengaluru, lots have been talked about the safety of customers at the ATMs. Government instantly washed off its hands and passed the responsibility to banks, mandating them to employ security guards or else close the ATMs.

But no one thought if there's anything else that can be done. Employing aged men as security guards will deter the thief? Why can't we try alternatives like ATMs in open space- like the ones in Thailand.

Let us assess the advantages and disadvantages of having ATMs like this

Advantages:
1. Banks can save on rental, AC and security guard expenses, thus reduced per transaction expenses
2. Attacker can't pull down the shutter- whatever happens, happens in public, hence this automatically increases safe.
3. Many use ATMs for other purposes- such as to enjoy the cool AC while it is hot outside- all these can be saved.
4. Responsibility of protecting the public lies more with government and less with bank. In this model, by making ATMs public, banks won't have to pretend providing false sense of security and law enforcement agencies will be able to keep better watch on what's happening at ATM

Disadvantages:
1. ATM is exposed to nature and its harshness. Rain and heat can damage the exterior faster. But I feel this shouldn't be a concern, as Thailand has similar climate as in India and still they are able to maintain ATMs like above.
2. Exposed to Vandalism: If open ATMs are launched in India, miscreants are sure to try damage/tamper the set, just for fun. Those who damage public property never get punished in India and banks will have to repeatedly replace the damaged parts. If we can capture those who cause damage to the machine or its accessories and punish/humiliate them publicly, people would eventually stop unnecessarily damaging the system.
3. Providing additional services- such as check drop box, product/service brochures etc would be difficult. Many ATMs in India even serve as sleeping spot for security guard and even street dogs, which can be avoided in this model.
4. Cash loading is done from the side and since there's no enclosure, difficult when it rains. Also cash loading is sort of exposed to public.

What do you think of above model for teller machines? Do you think it will work in India? I feel banks should at least set up a few on experimental basis.

Similar: Security tips for ATM usage

5 comments :

envywin said...

I see such ATMs integrated into supremarket stores such as the Axis Bank ATMs at More supermarket.. however they do have the larger shutter that closes along with the shop.. and hence are not 24-hour ATMs.. sometimes I wonder why ATMs need to be open for 24 hrs in the first place.. can only few ATMs be open 24 hrs rather than all? like 24-hour pharmacies. need some thought

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, not every thing need to be open 24 by 7

Shivasharan Madhure said...

I got the same thoughts after reading about the knee jerk reactions.
Loved your point that the onus of security of customers at ATM is on banks only in India.. :(
It was ridiculous the way the police went around downing shutters of ATMS. I came across so many hapless customers asking around for ATMs that might be open. So many of them were new to Bangalore too.
Why can't the people at responsible positions take decisions based on common sense and logic. Atleast they should keep themselves open minded and listen to the opinion of others and improve their decisions.

Shivasharan Madhure said...

These are exactly the same thoughts that I got after reading about the incident.
It was ridiculous that the Police went around downing shutters of ATMs around the city causing inconvenience to many. I came across numerous customers querying for ATMs that might be open, many of whom were new to the city too.
I wish that those in responsible positions wouldn't take such knee jerk reactions. It was the second such reaction after Volvos and emergency exits. I was surprised that no one bothered about the numerous sleeper buses which do not even have a breakable emergency glass window, let alone a door. And I also feel the tiny door in a sealed bus is more troublesome than breakable glasses. These doors most often would be stuck with shoddy maintenance and bent bolts. Sorry for deviating.
I too strongly feel that the ATMs should be in open and I am sure the running costs would be significantly less compared to the present room/AC/Security design, In which case the onus of customer security wouldn't be pressed on the banks.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Shivasharan:
Yes.. common sense is not very common.
Thanks for your comments