There Could Soon Be Fewer Bodega And Bar ATMs After MasterCard, Visa Policy Shift

Image courtesy of Tomás Fano

You know what it looks like: it’s buried way in the back of the corner store or your local watering hole, covered in a thin layer of grime from all those who have punched its keypad before. It’s the ubiquitous non-bank ATM, and it could be vanishing from some familiar spots in the near future with new policies at MasterCard and Visa that shift the blame for fraudulent transactions.

In October, MasterCard won’t accept financial responsibility for any counterfeit charges on its debit and credit cards if the transaction happened on a compromised ATM that doesn’t work with EMV or chip-enabled cards, MarketWatch reports. Visa will follow suit in October 2017.

That means that the companies will be holding whichever party has the least secure technology responsible for any bad transactions: the bank that issued the card, the bank that processes the payments made on the card for merchants (like the bar or bodega owner), or the ATM owner.

And if a bank that processes payments for the merchants gets hit with counterfeit charge costs, it might pass on that debt to the merchant, which could prompt some small-business owners to cut their losses and get rid of the ATM, some experts say, instead of shelling out the money to upgrade their ATMs.

There are more than 400,000 ATMS in the U.S. right now, and more than half of them are run by independent, non-bank companies, David Tente, the executive director of the U.S. and Latin America chapter of the ATM Industry Association, a trade group, tells MarketWatch.

“We don’t expect that more than 2% or 3% of ATMs would be taken out of service or turned off,” he said, which would still amount to 6,000 ATMs shutting down and disappearing in the next two years or so.

Though you may mourn the loss of your favorite $10 bodega ATM, the police shift doesn’t mean consumers will be liable for fraudulent transactions with the policy shift: it just means you’ll have to make more of an effort to hit up your bank’s ATM. At least that way you’ll avoid non-bank ATM charges.

Why that scuzzy ATM in the back of your favorite dive bar is about to disappear [MarketWatch]