NAB splashes out AU$100m on Windows ATMs

National Australia Bank is overhauling its network of 1600 ATMs to run on Windows XP and Internet protocol networks.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

National Australia Bank is overhauling its network of 1600 ATMs to run on Windows XP and use IP networks.

The overhaul, which commenced in March last year, is part of a seven-year AU$100 million managed services deal with ATM manufacturer NCR, said Jordan Gibbins, head of ATMs and interchange at NAB.


"From July last year, we commenced upgrading our machines that were already deployed out there. Now, we're looking at the entire ATM network, which is close to 1600 ATMs, that should be upgraded by the end of September this year," Gibbins told ZDNet.com.au.

NAB's applications will move away from its legacy OS/2 ATM operating system to Windows, which will make deploying new applications on the ATMs easier, said Gibbins.

"We're upgrading all our communications infrastructure so that it's all Internet protocol, and so that all our ATMs are running on XP... What this does for us is make ATMs a more service-oriented channel, so rather than just cash dispensing, it means, in the future, we have the flexibility to offer more options."

The ATMs are equipped with self-service features such as Intelligent Depositing, which lets customers immediately verify cheques and cash deposited at an ATM — a process that can take days under the current system.

"We won't be deploying Intelligent Depositing at stage one of the rollout. At this stage we will be using the self-healing capabilities of the new ATMs and in the future we can upgrade to Intelligent Depositing capabilities," said Gibbins.

The self-healing capabilities of the new ATMs mean that if confronted by the Windows so-called "blue screen of death", the ATM can revive itself without human intervention, NCR's US chief technology officer, Alan Chow, told ZDNet.com.au.

Other applications the bank is considering deploying are multilingual capabilities, barcode reading, bill payment options and share-trading applications; however, few will be enabled during the early stages of the deployment.

The new ATMs are also equipped to read chip and PIN credit cards. However, chipped cards are yet to be issued to NAB's customers.

"They will be [chip and PIN] capable but at stage one, we're not enabling that... [Chip and PIN] cards have not been launched yet," said Gibbins.

Security experts have criticised the trend towards employing Windows for ATMs because it introduces greater security risks than ATMs running on OS/2, protected to some extent by its much smaller user base.

"We're very conscious of security. Before deploying anything, it's all tested to make sure it's secure," said Gibbins.

The shift to XP on the bank's ATMs mirrors a change on its desktops. Just this year, the bank completed its desktop operating system overhaul, moving from its ageing NT environment to XP.

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