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How to deal with common EMV issues at ATMs

Troubleshooting guide for ATM owners and operators offers solutions and preventative measures

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Preventing excessive "fallback" transactions is covered in new guide Preventing excessive "fallback" transactions is covered in new guide

ATMs were required to be EMV-enabled as of October 2017 (2016 for MasterCard) or face a “liability shift” for lost/stolen or counterfeit fraud. That implementation is well along now, according to the U.S. Payments Forum, the nonprofit organization focused on EMV (chip card) implementation as well as other new payment technologies.

But as with any new technology rollout, glitches can occur. The forum recently released a white paper to address questions raised by ATM owners and operators and to help prevent, or deal with, common transaction issues.

The free 13-page paper, entitled “EMV Troubleshooting Guide for ATM Owners and Operators” addresses both when chip cards are used at EMV-enabled and non EMV-enabled ATMs, and reviews several scenarios that could emerge, including fallback, declined transactions, and chip transaction reversals.

“Fallback,” according to the guide, “occurs when a transaction is processed on a chip-enabled ATM, with a chip card, but uses magnetic strip data.” The document explains that fallback can have many causes. Whatever the cause, however, fallback rates are typically monitored by the payment networks, the paper notes, “and excessive fallback rates may lead to penalties if not corrected.”

Problem scenarios covered

In addition to issues related to fallback, the U.S. Payments Forum paper deals with five common causes of  “Issuer declines for an EMV-related reason,” and offers several tips for determining the root cause of an EMV problem in ATM usage. A list of additional resources is included, as well.

The guide is the work of the forum’s ATM Working Committee, co-chaired by Marcelo Castro, Diebold; Craig Demetres, Chase; and Brenda Pino, BMO Harris Bank. According to a forum statement, the next ATM Working Committee project is to provide an overview of guidelines for accepting contactless transactions at an ATM as well as developing guidelines for interoperability in regard to mobile wallet and contactless EMV card technology.

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