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Smarter Security Means You Can Access Cash from Smartphone

Smartphone loves can rejoice: It will soon be possible to use your phone to access an ATM. ATM maker Diebold Inc. is testing a cash-dispensing-only ATM that relies on a mobile wallet to authenticate the consumer, eschewing a PIN pad and card reader. The ATM is now in test at the Diebold Federal Credit Union, which is unaffiliated with North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold, and at locations belonging to Wintrust Financial Corp., in Rosemont, Ill., and City National Bank, in Los Angeles. If this rollout goes well, ATMs across the United States could soon use this feature.

A transaction works in one of two ways. The first is akin to the current method of walking up to an ATM and making cash withdrawals, which is how ATM machines currently work. The other way to use the mobile wallet to get cash is to pre-stage the transaction, which means setting up the withdrawal prior to arrival at the ATM. Consumers select which account to use and the withdrawal amount beforehand. A transaction using this method would supposedly take less than 10 seconds.

A smartphone app-based ATM transaction could also provide additional security. Not only will these ATM apps be supported by smartphone security systems, but also because a card is never used, there is no skimming device criminals could place to try to capture the sensitive card data. The service also eliminates shoulder surfing, the practice of overlooking a consumer’s shoulder at the ATM to spy on his PIN number. Smartphone-based ATM transactions can also eliminate data theft by sticky tape. This happens when a thick double-sided tape is placed onto the card slot and it imprints the card information. Without having to use a card, the threat is eliminated. However, there are still critics who will argue that any technology can be hacked into. Those critics are correct. Apps are commonly hacked into, or infected with viruses. However, their security systems have improved to points where such problems are gone quickly.

Using your smartphone to do banking transactions is not totally new; in fact, many banks allow account holders to take a photo of a check and deposit it without having to go to a branch. This is popular among the “smartphone generation”, and accessing the ATM via smartphone is sure to do the same. All users should make sure that their phone has up-to-date security features, and at the very least contact their mobile provider to make sure. When technology advances so do the hackers, however, the combination of smartphone and financial institutions’ security features is sure to outsmart the hackers.

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