The issue is especially acute in countries still with a large ATM network, such as Germany. Barbara Pianese reports.

European ATM numbers have been steadily falling since 2016 as cash transactions decline. A lot of attention has been given as to how to keep our online purchases more secure. Physical ATM attacks have been explored less. 

Last year, as a whole, physical ATM attacks in Europe were down 6% compared to 2021. However, explosive ATM attacks were up 16%, according to data from the European Association for Secure Transactions (EAST). 

The rise in ATM explosive attacks is of great concern to the industry, according to EAST executive director Lachlan Gunn.

“While extensive measures have already been taken to mitigate the risk of such attacks, each attack creates significant collateral damage to equipment and buildings and can pose a threat to life,” says Mr Gunn. 

In Germany, thieves are blowing up ATMs at a rate of more than one per day, according to a press report. The country has 53,000 ATM machines, reflecting Germans’ preference for cash rather than bank cards.

In 2022, terminal-related fraud attacks in Europe were up 70% due to a rise in cash trapping at ATMs. The 10,141 terminal-related fraud attacks resulted in a €200m loss for banks, according to EAST. Most losses remain due to card skimming, which totalled €167m.

Lenders can mitigate the issue with note neutralisation systems, GPS tracking solutions and training and hiring programmes for service workers, among other solutions.


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