Smart ATMs Are Shaping the Future of Banking Security

Devin Partida
Smart ATMs Are Shaping the Future of Banking Security
Illustration: © IoT For All

As the banking industry reinvents its delivery channels for today’s digital age, smart ATMs are paving the way toward enhanced security and improved customer experiences. These machines leverage advanced interconnected technologies to protect customer information better and streamline everyday transactions.

What is a Smart ATM?

A smart ATM lets you do much more than withdraw cash, the same way a smartphone enables you to do more than make and receive calls. The scope of applications varies, but generally, you can deposit cash or checks, transfer funds between accounts, make loan payments, and more on a smart ATM.

These machines can integrate with other technologies like IoT devices and often feature an interactive touchscreen interface with greater functionality than keypad terminals. For example, some touch screens allow you to sign documents, so there’s no need to set foot in the bank to complete your transaction.

Most smart ATMs also support cardless transactions, meaning you make withdrawals or process money transfers without inserting your physical card.

From the banks’ perspective, advanced teller machines offer time and cost advantages. Traditional ATMs can be expensive to maintain and if something goes wrong, the bank has to send a technician to fix the problem. Smart ATMs typically allow remote management, enabling IT teams to address issues like reinstalling OS and restoring crashed disks remotely.

How Smart ATMs Enhance Banking Security

Security is one of the most crucial aspects of banking. No one wants to save money or take out loans from a financial institution that cannot guarantee the confidentiality of its systems. Banks that embrace innovative technology benefit from advanced security measures designed to mitigate risks associated with traditional ATMs.

Biometric Authentication

PINs and passwords are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Many smart ATMs use biometric authentication systems like facial recognition and fingerprint scanning to verify user identity. This adds an extra layer of security by ensuring only users authorized with biological features can access the machine’s services.

Biometric-enabled ATMs have recently advanced to recognize voices, irises, and even a finger’s unique vein patterns to authenticate transactions. According to research, the market is poised to grow by over 30% between 2023 and 2029.

As an added benefit, smart ATMs that utilize biometric authentication can promote inclusivity by eliminating the need for literacy and numeracy skills to conduct banking.

Real-Time Transaction Monitoring

Smart ATMs often feature real-time monitoring capabilities, allowing banks to detect and respond quickly to suspicious activities. They continuously analyze financial data and user behavior to identify potential threats within milliseconds of a fraudulent act.

Transaction monitoring compares people’s activity in real time against an established baseline of typical transaction patterns. Sophisticated machine learning algorithms run the analysis and immediately generate an alert when the system detects an anomaly or suspicious pattern.

24/7 observation can also improve customer experience by tracking daily usage and alerting the bank when the ATM runs low on cash. This helps reduce downtimes and improves year-round cash availability.

Predictive Analytics

Integrating cloud-based AI and automation technologies into smart ATMs can enhance fraud detection and prevention. The process also compares baseline data against user activity. However, where real-time monitoring looks to catch security issues as they occur, predictive analytics looks to prevent these concerns altogether.

For instance, a debit card transaction made far away from the owner’s phone location could trigger a potential fraud alert and promptly decline the transaction. AI-powered proactive fraud detection is already a popular solution in the banking industry, helping prevent roughly $25 billion in transaction fraud yearly.

Smart Surveillance

IoT sensors and cameras installed at ATM locations and on the machine itself can greatly enhance security. These connected systems can detect suspicious activities in real time and immediately signal safety personnel. Advanced facial recognition integrated with IoT devices can also pick out known threats or individuals on watchlists, and deny them access to the ATM.

Tamper Detection

Card skimming constitutes a huge issue in banking security. This is when a criminal installs a device designed to capture your card information and use it to siphon money from your bank account.

A smart ATM equipped with sensors can detect attempts to manipulate or compromise the physical integrity of the machine and trigger the alarms. The alert then activates facial recognition in the cameras in and around the area so the authorities know who to look for if they can’t apprehend the perpetrator on the scene.

Integrating Smart ATMs Within Broader Banking Ecosystems

Bringing intelligent ATMs mainstream involves incorporating these machines into the banking industry’s already extensive network of financial technologies. Security is only as good as the weakest link in the chain, so seamless communication between smart devices and legacy systems is essential.

This integration can provide an additional layer of security for big-money transactions. For instance, if you’re withdrawing a large sum, an IoT-enabled ATM could use your unique heartbeat pattern from your smartwatch to enhance the authentication process. This can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your account.

In addition to a more cohesive and holistic security approach, intelligent machines in banking can enhance the overall customer experience. For example, going to an ATM only to discover it’s not paying out is often frustrating. With an interconnected infrastructure, you could use your mobile app to find active ATMs nearby.

IoT Challenges and Potential in Banking 

The intersection of IoT and financial technology presents both challenges and significant potential for innovation within the industry. One standout issue is data privacy and protection. As more smart devices become interconnected, ensuring the confidentiality of sensitive customer data becomes more difficult.

Additionally, just as AI can enhance security in banking, malicious actors can also use it to facilitate new or improved attacks. For example, perpetrators use AI voice generators and automation software to run card deactivation scams.

The goal is to simulate a live phone conversation about your card being no longer usable to make you feel so anxious that you skip investigating and dive straight into the offered solution. Remember — the bank will never ask for sensitive details like your PIN or CVV code.

On the flip side, the IoT can potentially transform the banking experience. AI-enabled devices gather real-time data on customer behaviors and preferences, enabling the delivery of personalized services.

This information can also be useful to improve machine uptime. Tracked data can help predict outages, while automated checks can identify causes of failed transactions, reducing service disruptions.

Smart ATMs represent the next step in enhancing banking security in the digital age. Investments in IoT banking solutions are increasing and the market is expected to reach over $31 billion by 2030.

Smart ATMs for a Secure Banking Industry 

Smart ATMs provide a blend of security and convenience in financial services. By introducing enhanced measures like biometric authentication, real-time monitoring, and predictive analytics, these devices can help create a more robust and resilient banking infrastructure. As technology evolves, smart teller machines should play a critical role in staying ahead of emerging security challenges.

Devin Partida
Devin Partida - Editor-in-Chief, ReHack Magazine
Devin Partida is Editor-in-Chief of where she covers IoT, cybersecurity, tech investments and more.
Devin Partida is Editor-in-Chief of where she covers IoT, cybersecurity, tech investments and more.