Are Those New ATM Number Pad Covers Driving You Nuts?

Are Those New ATM Number Pad Covers Driving You Nuts?
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We’re all used to being told to cover our hands when using automatic teller machines (ATMs), which prevents rogue cameras from seeing you enter your PIN. Some banks are now taking it a step further, with a rubberised cover over the top of the number pad. I understand the reasoning, but it makes ATMs much more painful to use.

The top row of numbers in particular is very hard to reach with this method. I can also imagine it causing dramas if you had very large hands or suffered from arthritis. I appreciate banks need to ensure ATMs are secure — especially since they’re the main way most of us interact with a physical bank — but this approach seems ham-fisted to me. What do you think?


  • What the hell? I’m yet to see any of these, but damn. I cover my hand with either my other hand or my wallet that’s in my hand… yeah, this is taking it way too far, and who’s to say the criminals won’t put a camera/sensor under this?

  • I have more of a problem with ATMs that are not designed for anyone taller than about 5’3 theres one around the corner from my house that I can’t see the screen unless I hunch over really uncomfortably. It’s really awkward to use.

    • It’s the same with sinks in public bathrooms and a number of other things. I’m not even that tall, but apparently if you’re bigger than a child then you have to bend over always.

    • I figure they’re erring on the side of caution there. I mean, with a short ATM tall people can hunch down and still use it. With a taller ATM, what do shorter people (or people in wheelchairs for that matter) do? I don’t want to have to carry a little step-ladder everywhere I go just because I’m a bit shorter than average :).

      • Dammit, so I’m being mildly inconvenienced to prevent a greater inconvenience to your kind? This cannot stand. If only there were some kind of solution to finally be rid of the plague of shortness…

      • That explains the really low NAB ATM in Queen St, Brisbane. Been trying to figure out why they made that so low.

  • Yeah, I’m worried about criminals putting a cover over the pad with a camera inside. I still prefer to cover the pad myself, and always shake my head at those who don’t cover the pad, thinking the bank has ’em covered if the money gets stolen.

      • Mid last year, I was at a supply store looking for some cellophane bags. When I walked in, a woman and the owner were having a disagreement. She wanted a regular supply of an item, delivered, but didn’t want to come in to pay for it each time (they had no recurring payment thing at the time). So she wanted to just write down the credit card details and have him plug them in when she needed more supplies.

        He said no, he wouldn’t do that, because that card number could fall into the wrong hands. She said that it was fine, because the bank would just “take care of it” if there was money wrongfully withdrawn from the account. He still gave a stubborn ‘no’, and she left after agreeing to pay each time.

        So I’m talking more about the people who are blatantly careless with their card because hey, the bank’ll take care of it. Almost like getting accidental breakage for your computer and using it like a frisbee, because hey, the computer company’ll take care of it.

    • Hi, I’m someone that doesn’t make any attempt to cover my PIN. I do, however, try to use paywave (since it’s the most secure transaction method) … and you know… not let anyone steal my credit card.

      Who needs a pin to conduct credit card fraud these days anyway? Christ, you don’t even need the actual card. If someone does get your card, they’re going to re-sign the signature panel and use signature authentication; or just buy crap online.

      Nobody cares about your PIN.

      • That’s true, but 1) Signing for stuff is being phased out (August 1st, LH did an article on it) 2) It’s a matter of security. If you’ve been given something that nobody else should know, you generally make a good effort to keep it secure.

        Besides, Paywave is good up to $100, then you need a PIN. That, and you can’t withdraw money with Paywave.

      • I think I heard that they’re making it so that non-paywave credit card transactions will need the PIN, soon. Doing away with the signature.

      • I would have guessed paywave is the most insecure option.

        From my understanding its just typical rfid/nfc tech, you can buy rfid readers/writers, connect it to a laptop and tape it to your inner sleeve, then go collect peoples information..say on the morning crowded train, i doubt its even encrypted.

        Go google mythbusters rfid, that episode got pulled by big banks shitting themselves

        • Yeah, that’s not even remotely correct. Paywave and other contactless payment options are the most secure option, they cannot be duplicated, and are authenticated/encrypted to the clapper.

        • Yes, the contactless payment technology used in the US uses easily broken encryption. As usual, Australia uses a better standard.

      • The situation where you need to get the PIN is quite a different to when you’re actually stealing the physical card. If you’ve stolen the physical card, you can transact online (and in person using signatures, still) without any further information (hence why they’re phasing out signature authorisations). Getting the PIN is used in conjunction with skimming the magnetic strip of the card. You then encode the details of that magnetic strip onto a new “blank” card, which you use with the original PIN to withdraw cash from an ATM.

  • ATM’s are so 1990’s I rarely use them and only because some of the food retailers haven’t gotten used to the idea that EFTPOS transactions are far more efficient and generate more business than cash. The idea that we need this additional ‘rubber’ protection is just ridiculous.

  • Question, how do we know these rubber pads are installed by the bank, and not card skimmers???

    Here’s a novel idea, mandate that ATMs must use the smart card readers instead of magnetic strips. If you get rid of that insecure element you’ll solve a great deal of problems to start with.

  • It’s flimsy rubber. Lift it up. Fucking first world problems… “THE BANK IS TAKING MEASURES TO MAKE SURE CRIMINALS HAVE A HARDER TIME STEALING MY MONIEZZZZ!”… grow up.

  • We have one at our local bank and its really disgusting to touch as you need too to see the upper digits. Always dirty … HATE THEM

  • Sort of/not really related, but I hate how filthy ATM number pads are. Do they ever get cleaned? I’m not a germaphobe, but I feel like my fingers are going to get gangrene every time I have to use one. The one in my local shops had dried spit all over it where some dropkick had obviously decided it’d be funny to hock all over the buttons. Never used it again.

    • That and the many reasons mentioned above are why I avoid using any ATM unless it’s the absolute last resort. First option to NOT use cash. But if I do need some cash… get Cash Out at the supermarket during any of the nineteen times a week I seem to visit there to buy things.

  • How is it possibly any harder to reach, assuming your fingers are longer than 3cm?

    Also these have been common for YEARS. Slow news day?

  • The covers, whilst clunky and annoying don’t bother me themselves.
    It’s the fact that they block my access to the money being dispensed on machines that only have a small gap between the cover and the dispenser. That makes me rage.

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