Here are 3 things that make cardless ATMs secure

August 15, 2018
Written By: Tom Segura

Technology makes our lives easier every day. How we respond to texts and emails, pay for our lunches, even withdraw cash — it's all been affected by advances in lifestyle technology.

Cardless ATMs are one of the latest fintech developments to enter our lives, making it possible to take out cash without your physical debit card. And generally, people seem to be embracing this technology with 54% of people reporting that they have used or would be interested in using cardless ATMs.

Of course, as with any new technological development, there's bound to be some apprehension, especially when it comes to security. You want to be sure that sensitive information, like your account number, remains safe from theft or fraud. The good news is that there are many security factors surrounding the use of a cardless ATM, more than skeptics may realize.

Here's what makes cardless ATMs a safe way to get cash.


Whenever you use your mobile wallet to take out cash, your debit card number is shielded from the transaction. This is made possible by a process known as tokenization.

Essentially, when you store any card in your smartphone's mobile wallet, your card number is automatically translated into a randomly generated series of alternative numbers, known as a token.

Every time you make a transaction with your mobile wallet, this token stands in place of your card number, so you are never transmitting the card's actual number or account information. Tokenization helps to protect your information — and that extends to cardless ATM transactions.

Smartphone security features

Your smartphone also has a number of security features to help keep your information safe. In addition to passcodes and lock screens, nearly every major smartphone on the market today has the option to require the use of a body part as a form of authentication — known as biometrics— to access your home screen or certain apps like your mobile wallet.

Fingerprint scanning is the most commonly known and used security feature on smartphones. Other newer forms of biometric security are being introduced for the latest generation of mobile devices and include facial/vocal recognition and iris scanning. To help keep your phone and the sensitive information stored on it safe, be sure to utilize as many of the basic and biometric security features available to your phone and important apps.

PIN requirement

The actual experience of taking out cash at a cardless ATM is virtually the same as if you were to use your physical card. The first step is the only part of the process that is different — instead of inserting your card into the machine, you tap your mobile wallet against the NFC symbol to access your account.

Every other step of the ATM transaction process remains the same. You still need to enter your PIN number into the machine to take out cash or check your account information. The misconception that you 'swipe-and-go' at a cardless ATM is simply untrue, and the use of your mobile wallet to take out cash is just as secure as when using your physical card.

While it's natural to be concerned about security when it comes to the latest technological trends, cardless ATMs are in fact a secure alternative to withdrawing cash when you are on the go or without your debit card.