Are Euronet ATMs a scam? – the truth behind the business

Are Euronet ATMs a scam? – the truth behind the business

“Euronet ATMs are expensive”, Euronet are scammers …”, “They stole my money …”, “They’re unethical …”, “Don’t use Euronet ATMs …”, “Legally scamming you …”.

These are statements that are occasionally posted through social media by consumers or travel bloggers. Where appropriate, we try to respond to as many comments as possible. Our hope is to allow for a more balanced and fact-based conversation.

We are obliged by laws and regulations around the world to operate our business and provide our services in an open and transparent manner. We have commitments to our stakeholders including customers, merchants, financial institutions that we work with, as well as our own employees, directors, and shareholders that we will run our business in an ethically appropriate manner. 

“Euronet are scammers …”

The phrase “Euronet are scammers” implies we commit fraud or participate in a dishonest scheme… and this simply is not true nor is it how we do business. 

We are a publicly listed company on the US stock market and have several regulated entities in Europe. These are subject to the oversight of regulators in the UK, Germany and other countries. We are also members of global card schemes such as Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Diners etc. We have to comply with industry body principles such as the Payment Card Industry Standards. All of these aspects compel us to operate at a high level, in compliance with all applicable laws. These are in addition to the rules and regulations of each of those organisations. This means we work at many different levels of rules and regulations, ensuring we are compliant when doing business and providing ATM services across the globe.

Each of the standards mentioned above puts the onus on us to demonstrate that the respective set of requirements and obligations are being met, tested, and enhanced to ensure that merchants, and customers are protected.

We are required to comply with laws and card scheme rules that determine things such as ATM screen flows, the wording used on the ATM screen, card security, data protection, software security, secure payment processing, fraud protection, cash safety and checks for counterfeit banknotes. These rules and regulations even go down to the size of the font used on the ATM screen!

They are just some of the many obligations we must meet in order to operate a compliant and secure ATM estate. We are very proud of our impeccable reputation with regulators, card schemes and industry bodies.

Unfortunately, there is still untrue information and comments around our ATMs, the charges, and the services we offer.

To hear “Euronet are scammers and thieves” is disheartening and simply incorrect!

As a group Euronet has been running ATMs for over 26 years. Euronet has gone on to become one of the leading global payment and payment processing providers. We work with banks, credit institutions, domestic transaction processing platforms, large and small retailers, and perhaps most importantly the consumer.

Scammers” usually set up short term ideas to take advantage of individuals. We know we do not fall into this criteria so the use of the statement “Euronet are scammers …” is completely untrue and we hope after reading this you will not think so either.

They stole my money, they’re thieves, they’re illegally scamming you …

We know this type of accusation comes more from either frustration or a lack of understanding of who is charging you and why. Your immediate thought would be that the money has been stolen or illegally taken. There are 3 common scenarios that may lead to this type of assumption…

Scenario 1

The ATM did not dispense the cash, but the bank account states that it has been withdrawn. There are many reasons why a technical device may not complete the task. We can all testify that any technology including laptops and phones may not have always done what we have asked. ATMs can be subject to similar issues such as hardware fails, power glitches or a GPRS/internet signal drops or interruptions.

We understand the frustration, but it does not mean that Euronet are thieves or that we have stolen customers money.  

Usually the ATMs software will realise something went wrong and will automatically raise a reversal. The amount should then be returned to the account. In other instances, certain transaction types may raise a warning where the bank or card issuer will need to investigate further. With this in mind, the customer will need to raise a dispute with their bank or card issuer, and they will then begin the regulated refund process.

Once your bank has confirmed that it was a genuine transaction, the money will be refunded to the account. Each and every transaction conducted at the ATM is logged (for audit purposes) and in line with the rules, set out by the card scheme. This is why the customer must speak to their bank directly and allow them to start the process on their behalf.

For clarity, Euronet are not “scammers” nor do we take the money that had been requested. In this scenario, we do not receive any of the money, nor do we benefit from this transaction error.

Scenario 2

The ATM retracts the cash that has been requested. Essentially a transaction has been processed and the cash has been presented to the customer… but for some reason the cash has not been taken in the allotted time, and the ATM has withdrawn the cash bundle.

As an ATM operator, we must comply with the card scheme rules and there is an agreed maximum time in which the cash can be presented before it is retracted. This means that the cash has been out in the open for too long. However, before the cash is retracted, the ATM will make a number of notification noises prompting the customer to take the cash.  This prompt lasts for up to 45 seconds. If you don’t take the cash within a certain timeframe, the ATM safety protocol is activated.

These protocols are there to protect the customer. We want to avert situations such as the next customer pocketing the cash, which would prevent the customer from requesting or receiving a refund.

If the ATM retracts the cash, we ask the customer to get in touch with their bank or whoever issued their card. The card issuer will be the ones to take the dispute forward, not Euronet. The cash retract is a digital transaction that will be identified by the ATM software audit log and the withdrawal amount will then be returned to the customer’s account.

At no point does this make Euronet “scammers or thieves”. And more importantly, we do not receive money, or any benefit from this type of transaction. 

Scenario 3

Lastly… fees at the ATM.

The term ‘Free ATM’ is a misnomer. Everything has a cost! Whilst customers may think bank ATMs are offering a free service, it is worth considering where the costs for running the bank ATM comes from or even checking account contracts from bank/card issuing institutions!  Monthly account fees, mortgage interest rates or loan rates are frequently used to subsidise the cost of running the bank’s ATM estate.

Euronet does incur costs to run the ATM. We recoup these costs clearly and transparently, by providing choices on the ATM screens.  EU and Member State laws as well as the rules of the respective card schemes, require full transparency of any charges applied during any cross-border transactions, and we meet those requirements.

As part of these rules and regulations and as a result of our desire to keep our customers fully informed, we clearly display any fees or charges to the cardholder using the ATM.

Before the transaction can proceed, the customer will have had to agree to the fees, as shown on-screen. We do not and cannot force customers to accept the charges. They are free to abort the transaction at any time at no cost. The decision to proceed with the translation lies solely with the customer. The customer may also choose between options when a currency conversion is involved; in this case they may choose their bank to make the conversion with the respective fees applied by the bank.

Most of the negative online comments we are subject to, normally stem from the currency conversion charges levied at our ATMs. Some blogs, comments and videos tell members of the public that we are scamming people, this simply is not the case. There are very strict rules around this service and these are set by the card schemes, not Euronet.

We are one of only a few companies who strictly adhere to the varying requirements and regulations. These include the required on-screen messaging that presents the service, the fees and the options for the customer, offering full transparency throughout the transaction.

It is important to also consider that ATM providers all over Europe are in the process of removing ATMs due to cost efficiencies or budget restrictions. Through the constant, global expansion of our ATM estate, Euronet aims to ensure that there is cash available not only in the major cities, but in rural and remote locations as well via our “ATMs for the Community” initiative.

We have a commitment to our ATM users through the transparency of our ATM service.

Almost all non-bank ATM providers levy fees at their ATM’s. But it will always remain the users’ choice on if they want to accept or decline the specified fee. Some banks even levy extra fees when their customer uses another banks ATM or an independent ATM. Through monthly bank statements, the cardholder will see these types of fees at a later date because they are sometimes masked.

We are in line with industry requirements and regularly audited…

Our payments processing, and ATM software is regularly updated in line with industry requirements, as well as being stress tested. Our business also uses the latest hardware, which can cost thousands of Euros per unit. We cover the costs of installation fees, provide and build features allowing the ATM to be replenished securely. We also pay to fill the ATMs with cash and ensure the cash is compliant with European note authenticity requirements. Essentially, making sure the cash used in the ATM is in line with the relevant banking requirements including note quality, removal of fraudulent notes, etc. We also make sure that the cash is correctly packed and delivered securely by certified cash carriers. Similarly, we operate, service and maintain the ATMs, providing a technical helpdesk and in most cases, offer monthly rental payments to the merchants that hosts our ATMs on their premises.

We do understand that customers may feel strongly about paying fees for using an ATM. But we balance these fees with a much needed, beneficial, and convenient facility to our merchants, partners, and customers. Who otherwise would not have access to cash as a payment option.

One to also consider, what is the cost of convenience to you? Do you pay a small fee for your groceries to be delivered? Pay a little more for food at the local convenience store because it is a short walk from your home? Pay a few cents more on the cost of petrol because it is on your way? Or even, use an independent ATM, because you need cash in a foreign city/country? It is worth considering what convenience looks like.

Euronet are unethical…

We have referred to the dictionary definition here as this really does not reflect us as a business… Unethical means – lacking moral principles; unwilling to adhere to proper rules of conduct.

In addition to being a publicly listed company and having several regulated entities involved in our ATM business while ensuring we comply with all regulations and card scheme rules. We also pride ourselves on our ethics as an employer, member of the community and thought leader in the payments industry.

The business participates in supporting the wider community. We actively join with our local communities through volunteer work, charity support (financial and otherwise), and partnerships with municipalities to provide ATMs at remote locations. Our ATMs also promote public service messages on our screens. Through our partnership with NGOs and national authorities, we are able to display information about locating missing children in a number of European countries.

More recently, we supported the COVID19 social distancing and health regulations throughout Europe. Our ATM screens became a method for communicating to thousands of people at a time of global crisis. This was all offered completely free of charge.

Our senior team at Euronet made the decision not to furlough any employees during the COVID19 pandemic. We are proud of this decision.

In the Quarter 2 2020 press release from Euronet Worldwide, we stated…

“Our primary focus has been on ensuring the health and safety of our employees, providing uninterrupted and enhanced services for our customers and being fiscally responsible for our shareholders.”. 

“To ensure the health and safety of Euronet’s nearly 8,000 employees, the company shifted virtually all of its employees to remote work-at-home arrangements. This process was efficiently completed and continues to function effectively, largely due to the exemplary contributions of our employees together with the leading edge, advanced architecture technology infrastructure we have deployed across the globe, including cyber-security and remote access measures. Our committed employees and technology systems have enabled us to quickly respond to alternative and accelerated requirements of many of our customers.”. At no point, through the crisis has Euronet Worldwide made any of its employees redundant or put anyone on furlough.

The words… “Euronet are scammers, thieves and unethical…” is not only detrimental to our business but our employees and our customers! They do not reflect Euronet as a business.

The subject of fees and additional costs to withdraw cash will always drive an emotional response. The number of ATMs across Europe is declining and banks are scaling down their services to customers through branch closures. Euronet is proud to offer alternative means to provide much needed cash services, that are all completely voluntary to use. 

We often get targeted by digital and online bloggers, vloggers and social media posts that will portray our business and the services we provide in a negative and inaccurate light.

For clarity, Euronet are not scammers, thieves or unethical, nor do we scam people. We are transparent, compliant, and regulated. Our ATM screens clearly display all and any charges, that the customer can either accept or decline. This decision lies solely with the customer.

We are an experienced global business that provides, manages and services thousands of ATMs across the world. As a group we are responsible for providing payment and payment processing services, software, and hardware solutions to over 170 countries. We employ thousands of people across the globe and are a NASDAQ listed business.  

It is important to us that we can offer multiple payment options and choice to those who need it most. Including the vulnerable and those who rely on cash. This is why we work hard with local governments, municipalities and communities to provide convenient, transparent services to all. We hope this blog has given you a better insight into the truth. We also hope we’ve begun to educate you on the fact that the statement “Euronet are scammers” is not true.

If you have any questions about any of the topics we have discussed, please fill out a contact form. We will get back to you as quickly as we can.

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