Latest ATM Management Trends in South Africa

As the company responsible for servicing 40% of ATMs in South Africa, SBV Services has a frontline view of the changes and challenges that face banks and cash services companies when providing ATM capabilities to clients.

With constantly shifting criminal tactics, ATM attacks are still prevalent and ATM models need to be adaptable and innovative.

Electronic locks

One of the most significant recent developments in ATM models is the use of electronic locks. Electronic locks replace the physical key system. The two main disadvantages of a key-based system are that the management of many keys is a significant security risk and the system is logistically inefficient. Both of these are mitigated when using electronic locks.

Electronic locks work by giving cash security guards a single key which receives a One Time Code that is generated and distributed from a central point so the ATM can only be opened with that key once. Several profiles can be created on one electronic key so a guard only needs to carry one device.

Electronic locks mean that security personnel can be rotated through different ATM logistics schedules so that the routines and identities of staff servicing ATMs don’t become predictable for criminals.
Electronic locks do not, however, replace the two-key system, and two keys are still required to open an ATM as this is an important feature of ATM security. One key is provided by the cash services security guard and the other from the bank whose ATM it is.

Importantly, electronic locks also leave a digital record of when safes are opened, how long they are open and who opened them.

The auditable trail provided by electronic locks is one of the primary reasons SBV introduced them into the South African market in 2012. This allowed the company to provide new service models to its clients that could be more accurately tracked, provided increased security and were more aligned to international security standards.

The electronic lock model also gives cash services suppliers flexibility when servicing ATM machines so that if a machine breaks down, a smaller service vehicle can be sent to fix it, rather than having cash-in-transit (CIT) vans changing routes and schedules to return to an ATM site with the only existing physical key for that device.

Custodianship models

ATM management has also changed in recent years to include different custodianship models, and SBV has successfully pioneered several such models.

In SBV’s Full Custodianship Model, it manages the entire ATM process for a client, including cash and stationary replenishments, simple troubleshooting and management of secondary suppliers where significant repairs are required. SBV is also responsible for maintaining the image of an ATM, ensuring that it is kept clean and neat. SBV staff that manage the full custodianship model have both security guard training, where they become skilled in defense and weapons, and custodianship training.

In the Dedicated Full Custodianship Model, SBV is the custodian for an ATM and provides the logistics services for its cash management, while the banks manage the risks and processes of the ATM. Although no longer widely used internationally, this model is still prevalent in South Africa.

With the Dedicated Bank Custodianship Model, the bank manages the custodian, and an external cash services company provides logistic support. In this model, the CIT company meets the custodian on site when servicing an ATM.

Future trends

SBV CEO South Africa, Mark Barrett says that constant evolution is a hallmark of the ATM sector. SBV has built its own reporting systems to ensure that it has as much information as possible about how best to service these types of cash devices and can quickly spot areas of growth and future trends. One example that the company is currently exploring is the development of an app that an ATM custodian can use to automate the management of their ATM and which will provide enhanced, useful data for giving clients accurate reports about ATM usage and maintenance.

Barrett adds that the company is open to exploring other ATM models, including developing unique models to meet each client’s specific needs. “We currently adapt what we need per client, and most of our staff are skilled to work on different banks’ machines. As our business has evolved, we’ve adapted our internal processes, procedures and standards at all our cash centers to keep ahead of the curve.”