Bank security has come under fire from concerned customers who have raised issues about ATMs and new "paypass" cards.
Cherie Scott believes people should be aware that ATMs are not necessarily monitored by surveillance cameras, unless attached to a branch or happened to be caught on CCTV - even then they aren't foolproof.
It's something she discovered while trying to positively identify the person who stole a card from her mother's purse and withdrew $170 at a hole in the wall in Havelock North. They were never caught as the footage was wiped, before police had a chance to review it.
Hastings District Council covers machines situated on main roads, but only keeps the footage for 28 days before it is destroyed.
"CCTV cameras cover all of the ATMs on Heretaunga Street between Thompson Suits and New World Supermarket - they include ANZ, BNZ, KiwiBank and TSB - the Westpac ATM is now inside the building" council community safety manager Phil Evans said.
"At the time the cameras were installed (2002), they were placed in such a way as to look at the existing banks and their ATMs, since that time [they] have all installed ATMs with their own built-in cameras."
However, Ms Scott believed it was smaller communities without security systems which could be vulnerable to fraud or opportunist attacks. "Because there is a loophole in security, people can get away with it, it's not that hard to find out where these ATMs are, if I could do it I'm sure fraudsters can get that information easily enough," Ms Scott said.
"What if there is an elderly person who goes to one of these machines and is attacked? I'm just glad I know now."
Police had not noticed an increase in ATM fraud, but reminded people never to give out their pin numbers, instead recommending the use of internet banking.
"It's when people release pins that it's a problem, ATMs have anti-skimming devices and most of them have covers or hoods to prevent people from seeing your pin number," Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt said. "As for protecting yourself, keep pins secret, especially for the old or infirm, often it happens when they give their details to family members to get money out and they take extra."
When it comes to the potential for assaults at machines, dangers were no greater than any other type of robbery,
A Napier man who only wished to be known as James, furthered the debate by questioning new "paypass"or "tap and go" cards, which are now being issued by banks.
After being mugged on the walk home from town about 3am on December 17, he had to replace the contents of his wallet - but did not want the "paypass" function.
"From that attack, they made no profit as I was able to cancel everything and they didn't have the pins, then [the bank] expected me to get less secure [cards] which on a larger scale endanger people, as there would be a profit.
"I requested an Eftpos card, which I got and a debit card which I said I didn't want to have the tap and go feature. Visa are the ones that provide the debit cards to the bank and they use tap and go."
James was so concerned about avoiding the new feature, that he switched to Kiwibank, which still allows people to choose if they would like to stay with the old system.
Westpac spokeswoman Niki Russell said it was not the banks who decided to implement contactless payments, but credit card companies Mastercard and Visa.
She denied any safety concerns saying they were designed to simplify people's lives.
"[They] are a safe and convenient way for our customers to make small purchases without needing to use a pin or signature.
"With secure encryption technology and Zero Liability protection, PayPass is as safe as a customer's regular card."
They work by using a hidden embedded computer chip and radio frequency antennae to send payment details wirelessly to the network.
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