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David Tente, Executive Director
February Member of the Month: Founded in 2002, and commercially processing since 2004, Switch Commerce is a privately owned and operated, ATM processor. Their primary goal is to provide world class transaction services to their customers. Switch Commerce is headquartered in Irving, Texas a suburb of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The company has been built from the ground up with customers in mind. They operate on their own proprietary transaction processing platform, which allows them to quickly act and react to customer's needs. Switch Commerce first joined ATMIA in 2006.
CASHLESS NEWS! The City Council passed a bill on January 23, 2020 that makes New York the largest city to require that retail establishments accept cash as a form of payment. Although there has been no formal comment from the mayor’s office, he is expected to sign the measure into law. The original proposal to ban cashless retail establishments in New York City was introduced more than a year ago.
Under the bill, businesses that refuse cash face fines of $1,000 for a first violation and $1,500 for each subsequent offense. Businesses with devices that convert cash to cards, like those found in many laundromats, are exempt under certain conditions, including a provision that there be no fee for such cards.
There has also been some early 2020 activity at the state level. Oregon had introduced a bill last year to prohibit cashless retail, but it failed upon adjournment in the final session. A new bill was introduced on January 27. It states that it is unlawful for a place of “public accommodation” to refuse to accept coins and currency from a customer or make any distinction or restriction because a customer is paying with cash.
Vermont has introduced a similar measure. Violation of the law would be considered an unfair method of competition in commerce and unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce. New Hampshire was the first state this year to introduce a cashless ban on January 8, making it a violation of their consumer protection act.
There are no further updates to provide on progress in Congress on H.R 2650, the Payment Choice Act.
Efforts to ban retail establishments from refusing cash payments are gaining momentum everywhere – at the city, state, and federal levels. The stated motivation in all of these instances is that a cashless environment discriminates against the poor and the unbanked. The issue, however, is much larger than that. Cashless retail severely limits consumer payment choice and eliminates the favored payment method for 26% of the population (Fed numbers).
Even those considering a cashless environment should take a moment to consider factors outside of payment choice. In times of crisis – regardless of the cause – cash is often the only option. Daily life, too, has its wrinkles – payment networks crash and power systems fail.
ATMIA USA is supporting all efforts to prohibit cashless retail businesses. The interactive map below displays current proposals and newly enacted law. Simply click on a state to display information about proposed legislation and/or a list of specific cities that have proposed new ordinances. ATMIA members have access to additional details about these measures.
This year the environment in Washington, DC was quite different than last year. Since we have not had as much contact with the Democrat side, our first objective was to introduce ATMIA and provide some education on our industry.
As discussed in many of the in-person committee meetings at the U.S. conference in February, ATMIA has taken up the need for bans on cashless retail establishments as our major advocacy issue for 2019. The closure of IAD bank accounts is still an important one that we continue to pursue. But continued growth of cashless retail establishments is a situation that could be a truly existential threat to the industry. And we thought that opposing the disenfranchisement of poor and unbanked consumers by cashless merchants would be an issue that Democrats would eagerly support. Download the full overview . . .
Despite the DOJ’s (Department of Justice) proclamation in 2017 that Operation Choke Point (OCP) had been terminated, many ATM operators have continued to have their cash settlement and other business accounts, apparently in good standing, closed for questionable reasons. Speculation is increasing that current closures may be tied more to bank de-risking strategies or profitability criteria than direct pressure from regulators.
ATMIA created the 2019 IAD Cash Settlement Account Closure Survey to evaluate the impact of sudden cash settlement account closures experienced by many IADs (Independent ATM Deployers). It sought to determine how widespread this problem is, what circumstances surround a typical account closure, and how operators are dealing with it. The survey was open to all independent ATM operators/owners/acquirers – both ATMIA members and non-members. Download the report . . .
There is no more effective conversation with a state or federal legislator than the one you have with your representative. And they are particularly interested in hearing from their constituents who own or manage local businesses. But keep in mind that they probably know very little, if anything, about how the ATM industry works. Helping them understand our industry will help them recognize the potential impact of new regulatory measures.
Emphasize the benefits of convenient access to cash for their constituents, and consumers in general. And how that cash can boost in-store revenue, benefiting small retail merchants. Talk specifically about what your company does and its role in the industry. Always keep the conversation positive - our industry plays a very important part in the economy.
ATMIA created a "leave-behind" piece for its recent Washington DC Fly-In event. You may find it helpful in creating your talking points. Leave a copy for your representative, as it provides an excellent overview of ATMIA, the ATM industry, and several key issues. Download a copy here.
ATMIA recently completed a new survey to gauge the progress of EMV migration in the U.S. While the primary objective was to assess how complete EMV migration is in the ATM channel, ATMIA was also seeking feedback on post-migration issues like card and card reader problems, as well as thoughts on deployment of NFC technology, cardless solutions, and new ATM functionality.
Analysis of survey results is now available. ATMIA members can download the report from our Market Research page. Non-member participants received a code with which to claim a copy of the full report. Questions or requests for more information about the survey project should be directed to David Tente, Executive Director, ATMIA USA & Americas (+1.407.833.7906)
A follow-up piece to the feature on preventing ATM skimming is due out toward the end of July. CNBC sent a remote crew out to the office of ATMIA USA executive director, David Tente to record the interview.
The questions focused on cyber crimes and new types of attacks the industry is now dealing with. A hot topic for many is the dearth of information available on current crime activity. ATMIA ASA committee groups have begun to explore options for creating a system that would allow operators to share information. "Stay tuned for more details . . ."
The real story behind eliminating Reg E fee placard requirements
Without question, the ATM industry’s most significant regulatory success has been the elimination of Reg E requirements for posting physical signage on the ATM to disclose surcharge fees - with respect to both the broad support the effort garnered and the speed with which it was accomplished.
Those requirements were relics of the days before ATMs were capable of disclosing convenience fees on the terminal screen, and requiring that the cardholder accept the fees before a transaction could be completed. It was a very typical example of laws not keeping up with technology. In addition to being duplicative and unnecessary, the placard requirement also created new opportunities for fraudsters – filing costly lawsuits against ATM operators for missing placards, even if they were missing due vandalism or removal by the fraudsters themselves.
Discussions about the need to change this law actually began with a meeting between the EFTA, which partners with ATMIA on federal regulatory matters, and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer in the summer of 2011. H.R.4367, sponsored by Congressman Luetkemeyer, was introduced in the House on April 17, 2012 and was passed on July 9, 2012 by a 371-0 margin.
Meanwhile, the Senate produced two companion bills, S. 3204 (Sen. Mike Johanns) and S. 3394 (Sen. Tim Johnson) – neither of which was even considered by the Committee on Banking. Both bills contained additional language that had little support. The first and final action on the second Senate bill, S. 3394 was its introduction on July 17, 2012.
The House bill was supported and promoted by a huge industry coalition that included ATMIA, EFTA, ETA, ABA, all state bank associations, NAFCU, state credit union leagues, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Food Marketing Institute, Merchant Advisory Group, Consumer Action, NACS, and many others. A total of 148 House co-sponsors eventually signed-on to support the measure.
After being passed by the House, H.R.4367 – “To amend the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to limit the fee disclosure requirement for an automatic teller machine to the screen of that machine” – was passed in the Senate, without amendment, by unanimous consent on December 11, 2012 and signed into law on December 20, 2012 by President Obama.
To learn more about the history of these bills, use the links above to visit the congressional archives, or download a brief summary from the ATMIA website.
Engaging with the ATM and U.S. payments industries
As part of its mission to serve as a voice for the ATM industry, ATMIA USA is actively engaged with a variety of industry and government bodies. Despite frequent predictions for the demise of cash, by a few pundits, it remains a key component of the payments ecosystem. ATMIA’s ongoing participation in these industry dialogues ensures that the needs of our industry receive appropriate consideration.
The mission of the Faster Payments Task Force is to identify and evaluate alternative approaches for implementing safe, ubiquitous, faster payments capabilities in the United States that advance the following desired outcome:
A ubiquitous, safe, faster electronic solution(s) for making a broad variety of business and personal payments, supported by a flexible and cost-effective means for payment clearing and settlement groups to settle their positions rapidly and with finality.
ATMIA was part of the Faster Payments Task Force and worked to ensure that any new payments platform can be successfully integrated into the U.S. ATM channel.
As of August 1, 2016, the EMV Migration Forum has become the U.S. Payments Forum. With much of the EMV migration process behind, the group is broadening its mission.
The EMF was formed an independent, cross-industry body by the Smart Card Alliance on July 31, 2012 to address issues that require broad cooperation and coordination across many constituents in the payments space in order to successfully introduce secure EMV contact and contactless technology in the United States.
Led by numerous members of ATMIA, a new ATM Working Committee was set up in December, 2012 and formally approved by the EMF Steering Committee shortly thereafter. The group is co-chaired by ATMIA USA Executive Director David Tente and two other ATMIA members.
The EMF also maintains a Knowledge Center as a public repository of information relative to EMV migration. Documents can be searched by Category, Stakeholder or Title. ATMIA members have been instrumental in creating the “Implementing EMV at the ATM” white paper which is available in the Knowledge Center and the ATMIA website White Papers section.
Building on tremendous feedback from Americans across our country about the theme of democracy, the Treasury Department will create new design concepts for the $20, $10, and $5 dollar notes. Find out more.
Working to protect the health & vitality of the U.S. ATM Industry. Find out how you can contribute.