Most ATMs running on old OS as BSP yet to approve higher fees for upgrades

By Luis Mateo

Cash machines remain antiquated and prone to fraud because the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is taking its time to allow banks to raise fees for upgrades, a source in the local banking industry said.

Most cash machines in the Philippines remain old and prone to fraud because they are awaiting approval to raise fees for upgrades.  Photo credit: IBM.com

Most cash machines in the Philippines remain old and prone to fraud because they are awaiting approval to raise fees for upgrades. Photo credit: IBM.com

As a result, local lenders are unable to equip their automated teller machines (ATMs) with anti-phishing devices, let alone update their systems to newer and more robust platforms because they can’t afford it.

Customers withdrawing money and/or inquiring balances on ATMs have been paying the same rates for the past eight years and it’s time to increase the fees, a source said.

From the current P11 to P14 withdrawal and the P2 balance inquiry fees, cash machine charges should be raised to P20 and P5 respectively, the same source said.

The increase will help migrate ATMs that still run on old Windows XP to the newer Windows 7, said the source, the chief of an anti-fraud unit of a universal bank.

The inability to raise fees for withdrawals is one of the biggest reasons why many ATMs are “antiquated,” the source said, adding that upgrading these machines will cost the bank at least $600 per ATM plus the nearly $1,000 migration fee from XP to Windows 7.

However, the country’s central bank is taking its time to make a decision regarding the increase, the bank executive said.

Lenders, mostly belonging to the Bankers’ Association of the Philippines (BAP) and some from the Chamber of Thrift Banks, will need to wait for at least six months or a year, said Nestor Espenilla, the new governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

“There are still deliberations on it,” Espenilla said.

Chunk of the cash to be raised from the increased rates will be used in replacing ATM keypads, which allows users to enter personal identification numbers (PIN) two times.

Software giant Microsoft only installs Windows 7 on advanced ATMs, according to the source. Support for Windows XP — the operating system of several thousand antiquated ATMs — ended in April 2014, the source said.

Upgrades also include CCTVs that can cover 360 degree angles and an auto shut off function when it senses that a phishing scheme is being attempted.

“If the BSP thinks putting these sensitive apparatus is cheap, it should think again,” the source added. However, the source didn’t say how many of the estimated 13,000 ATMs in the country are now running on Windows 7.

Cash machines that are not running Windows 7 reportedly have less “teeth,” making it easier for phishers to copy ATM data from the terminal such as account number, balance, and usual time of deposits.

Foreign scam artists have been arrested committing the illegal acts. The usual items recovered from them are fabricated ATMs, blades, mini-cameras and sometimes fake IDs.

1 Comment

  1. Daniel

    August 14, 2017 at 2:25 PM

    Why Windows 7? Support will end for it in 3 years time…

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