Kavanagh Stands with Stringer to Regulate Sidewalk ATMs

July 19, 2009

On July 19, 2009, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Manhattan Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer, and Zella Jones of Manhattan Community Board 2, in urging the City to regulate ATM machines on sidewalks. Currently sidewalk ATM machines are subject to no meaningful regulation, unlike other objects placed on public sidewalks by private businesses and individuals, and they do not seem to be subject to oversight and regulations that govern ATMs in banks and other financial institutions.

The Borough President unveiled a study, Sidewalks Under Siege: Halting the Spread of Illegal Outdoor ATMs, which found that 85 percent of the ATMs on sidewalks lacked visible surveillance cameras, while the fees for withdrawing funds were higher than indoor ATM machines. There are also questions whether adequate mechanisms are in place to protect information entered into the machines such as bank card and personal identification numbers (PINs). The survey found the Lower East Side to have a particularly high concentration of the unregulated machines, with 99 such machines found in the neighborhood.

“Some people may appreciate the convenience of finding an ATM wherever they go on the Lower East Side and in some other neighborhoods,” said Kavanagh, “but unregulated ATMs pose real risks of theft and fraud. And as with other items that we allow to be placed on sidewalks, we should also regulate the locations of the machines to ensure that they don’t interfere with pedestrians.”