State Investigation IDs Unauthorized ATMs at Convenience Stores, Gas Stations Across State
Eight ATMs in town that are not owned by a bank were discovered to be unauthorized by state banking standards during a recent sweeping state investigation. Only four in Danvers now remain out of compliance.
Over 100 automatic teller machines on the North Shore are operating without approval or do not meet state regulations. In Danvers, eight of 33 non-bank owned automatic teller machines were the target of cease activity orders.
The Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Banks announced Monday the results of an investigation of non-bank owned ATMs, which found more than 300 machines operating without approval and another 101 registered machines that did not meet state regulations. These machines are often found in convenience stores or gas stations. On the North Shore, 139 ATMs are unauthorized.
"Non-bank ATM operators must follow state regulations, register their machines, and make sure consumers are appropriately aware of the fees and ownership of a machine," said David J. Cotney, the Acting Commissioner of the Division of Banks. "Consumers must have a high level of trust and protection when using an ATM that is not at a bank, and following our registration rules and regulations provides that trust and protection."
Under Massachusetts law, non-bank ATM providers must apply for and receive approval by the Division for each ATM location. When a potential operator applies with the Division, it must include information on its ownership, security provisions, proposed surcharges, and other information for the Division's review.
Last week, the Division issued cease activity directives for each location found to be operating an unauthorized ATM. The locations must cease ATM operations until they follow the proper steps to become authorized.
The Division also inspected 101 non-bank ATMs currently licensed to conduct business and found violations at all 101 locations.
Commonly, the registered ATMs did not have contact information for the owner of the machine with a 24-hour contact phone number.
ATMs are also required to display the amounts of any surcharge and the right of a consumer to cancel a transaction prior to being assessed a fee.
"It is crucial that consumers are provided fee, contact data and other information in order to make informed decisions on which ATMs to use," Cotney said.
"With the number of non-bank ATMs growing rapidly, it is important that these ATMs comply with security requirements, as well as fee, contact information and other disclosure provisions, in order to protect consumers and prevent ATM-related crime like identity theft," said Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Of the eight Danvers businesses identified with ATMs in violation, only four had not met compliance requirements and been reauthorized by the state as of Monday.
Those four remaining ATMs are at:
- Waterfront Wine & Spirits, 128 Water St.
- Mike's Mobil, 156 Endicott St.
- Gulf Express, 160 Andover St.
- Ferncroft Mobile, 431 Newbury St.
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