Capital group emerging market tokyo japan: Global Currencies Outlook, The Strong Dollar Is Losing Steam

Currency movements often produce a wild ride for investors, but 2016 was a year for the ages. The pound sterling tumbled to a 30-year low, the euro declined sharply in the fourth quarter, and the U.S. dollar staged a remarkable bull run.

 

What’s in store for 2017? In my view, the roller coaster won’t stop, but the ride should be less bumpy. That’s important because currency fluctuations can have a big impact on investment results. In 2016, for instance, European stocks enjoyed a robust 7% gain in local currency terms. But for dollar-based investors, currency movements eliminated all of those gains, producing a loss of –0.4%.

 

Here are my thoughts on the outlook for select global currencies this year:

 

U.S. Dollar Nearing a Peak

 

A strong acceleration in U.S. economic growth — perhaps influenced by the policies of the new U.S. president — could drive the dollar a bit higher, but probably not by more than 5% or so. The dollar is on the last legs of a multiyear bull run, in my opinion, after rising more than 30% since 2011. Calling a peak is always difficult, but it’s obvious that a lot of good news on the U.S. economy is already baked in to the current dollar price. The dollar is overvalued by about 10%, in my estimation, so there are limits to how much further this bull can run. I think the dollar entering a consolidation phase this year would not be surprising.

 

Euro Recovery on the Horizon

 

If one accepts the premise that the dollar is expensive, then that means some other currencies are undervalued. The euro has been cheap for several years, in my view, but the stage is set for a recovery. Growth in the euro-area economy is starting to firm up. And inflation is beginning to rise, albeit from very low, deflationary levels. If these trends continue, then the European Central Bank is likely to start reducing its bond-buying program, which should allow the euro to appreciate. However, I think this won’t happen until the second half of 2017, after the French and German elections. Once the political uncertainty declines, the euro will be in a good position to rise.

 

Pound Sterling Bottoming Out

 

There is still a high degree of uncertainty surrounding the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, a process that is expected to take two years. The current value of the pound, which is down 15% against the dollar since last summer, already incorporates some “hard Brexit” risks. As long as this uncertainty continues, there isn’t much reason for the pound to move a lot higher, but I also don’t see it falling much more from here. The pound’s valuation is attractive today, but there is little reason to be optimistic until we know how the U.K. will be treated outside the EU.

 

Yen Remains Undervalued for Now

 

The yen experienced a true roller-coaster ride in 2016, essentially making a round trip and ending up close to where it started. The yen’s valuation is cheap, but it is trading at such levels due to the Bank of Japan’s very aggressive asset purchase program, combined with yield curve control measures. Given the upward pressure on global interest rates, the risk is that markets will test the central bank’s ability to keep Japanese interest rates low. Any sign that the BOJ’s willingness and ability to keep rates low is fading will quickly trigger a stronger yen.

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Capital group financial advisor Tokyo japan: Markets Can Take Time Adjusting to the Policy Fog

Key Takeaways

 

There is an interesting disconnect these days between political uncertainty and market volatility.

When history seems to offer little guidance, financial markets take time to adjust and have a bias toward not changing.

The key to successful investing in these times is for active managers to maintain enough portfolio flexibility to respond rapidly when the uncertainty starts to resolve.

 

In the short time since the new U.S. presidential administration was installed, there has been a flurry of policy announcements, and even more policy speculation, spanning a multitude of areas. In the process, an interesting disconnect has emerged between the political and financial worlds.

 

Much of the political news gives an impression of chaos and uncertainty, whereas financial markets have remained liquid and orderly, risky asset prices have remained well supported — and in most cases have actually strengthened — and market-based measures of uncertainty, such as the VIX, have remained low. (The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX, measures the implied volatility of the Standard & Poor’s 500.)

 

This disconnect exists at a more granular level, as well. For example, the so-called “border adjustment tax,” which in effect subsidizes exports and penalizes imports, should play a central role in a revenue-neutral corporate tax reform package, and would in theory have a significant impact. It should lead to a substantial appreciation of the U.S. dollar, it should be detrimental to low-end retailers who rely heavily on global supply chains, and so on.

 

The Role of Active Management

 

But financial markets do not incorporate these expectations. Equity prices reflect a high probability of corporate tax reform, yet forward exchange rates have not adjusted much, and retail stocks have not underperformed a great deal either. There are several other examples of the market’s underreaction to policy announcements that should in theory have a significant impact on specific groups of companies.

 

It would not be quite right to conclude that markets are not efficient. Rather, in periods of high policy uncertainty, and when history seems to offer little guidance, markets take time to adjust. In the meantime, they have a bias toward not changing until uncertainty is resolved – either because policy is clarified, or because an adverse shock materializes.

 

This tendency toward inertia is exacerbated by the inclination of many active managers to focus on peer risk rather than absolute risk. There is little incentive to take large portfolio positions with limited information, which may be hard to justify to clients, when the costs of being wrong are potentially high.

 

In other words, especially in an environment of regime change and high policy uncertainty, market efficiency is not instantaneous, but a process. This creates room for active management to add value. However, that should not imply that all active managers will succeed. In fact, there has been a gradual rise in the dispersion between active managers since mid-2015.

 

Investment Implications

 

The key to successful active management in periods of elevated uncertainty is not to stake everything on single-point forecasts. Rather, it is the ability to apply detailed policy analysis to a range of scenarios, and to maintain enough portfolio flexibility to respond rapidly and with high conviction as soon as uncertainty starts to resolve itself toward a specific outcome. Furthermore, the ability to populate the portfolio with diversified investment ideas, rather than a few macro positions, is essential if managers hope to generate alpha while keeping active risk under control.

 

Market liquidity has been good. Investor flows can be invested rapidly and efficiently. But can they be invested wisely when we know so little about the future? They can – but only through an investment process that is solidly grounded in fundamentals, granular enough to generate diversified ideas, forward- rather than backward-looking, and not too strongly anchored to preconceptions about how economic policy and financial markets must function. Investors should ensure that they have exposure to a broadly diversified set of investment themes and can benefit from active management that can respond with agility and flexibility to a rapidly changing policy environment.

The capital group inc Singapore: Adding our voice to the indexing dialogue

In recent years, the idea that investment managers can’t beat the index has become something of a truism within investing circles. The latest to weigh in is legendary investor Warren Buffett. In his 2017 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, he effectively endorsed that view by advocating low-fee indexing as the best approach for most individual investors. Here, Tim Armour, chairman and chief executive officer of Capital Group, discusses Mr. Buffett’s views and offers his perspective on the indexing discussion.

 

What are your thoughts on Warren Buffett’s recent comments that seem to endorse index investing?

 

Mr. Buffett’s approach at Berkshire Hathaway has many similarities to how we invest at Capital Group — through bottom-up investing, rigorously analyzing companies and building durable portfolios. This research-driven, long term, buy-and-hold approach typically means less trading, lower expenses and with it better results. And we wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Buffett’s all important message that most people need to save more for retirement — and to get invested and stay invested.

 

Mr. Buffett is not the only indexing proponent. Why do you think this view is so prevalent?

 

It’s important to say that we don’t dispute the data that has led Mr. Buffett and others to form their views. Namely, we agree that the average investment manager does not outpace the market over meaningful time horizons. However, a fairly simple fact has gotten lost in the debate. Simply put, not all investment managers are average. As we like to say, “Just because the average person can’t dunk a basketball doesn’t mean that no one can dunk a basketball.”

Mr. Buffett and others acknowledge that there are exceptions. We are one of them. And selecting a manager whose track record suggests it has the potential to deliver better outcomes can make a very meaningful difference in an investor’s life. For example, investors in an index fund will generate market returns. On the other hand, by investing in certain select funds, investors had an opportunity to outpace the index. For today’s investors, the difference between the market average and even slightly better returns over the long term can mean a much larger nest egg for a retirement that could last decades.

 

Do funds from certain managers offer something beyond the possibility of higher returns?

 

Index funds allow the opportunity to benefit when the markets are going up. However, by investing in index funds, you are also locking in all the market’s losses. Index funds may have their place, but they provide no buffer against down markets. Despite the trillions of dollars that have flowed into them, only about half of investors we surveyed last year are aware that index funds expose them to 100% of the volatility and losses during market downturns. Perhaps that’s unsurprising given the historic length of the US bull market. But markets turn. And doing better than the crowd in bad times is critical for investors seeking to grow their nest egg over the long term. Actively managed investments can offer the potential to lose less than index-tracking investments during market declines.

 

What’s your view on the value of professional advice?

 

Capital Group has long believed in the value that good financial advice can bring to help investors pursue their long-term investment goals. We believe advisors help motivate people to save and, perhaps most importantly, they can serve as a steadying hand during volatile times when human nature often drives investors to make decisions that wind up being counterproductive. In most cases, investors need to save more and stay invested, and advisors play a pivotal role in helping people do both of those things.

Jakarta island hotels branch: 10 fun things to do in Galveston, Texas with kids

Go to the beach

 

With 32 miles of beaches, Galveston Island is an outstanding family beach destination. Each of Galveston’s seven beach parks has a different personality. Whether you want a festive beach with lots of services and amenities or an uncrowded natural beach, Galveston has it.

Seawall Urban Park is home to the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier (see below) and the longest continuous sidewalk in the U.S., which makes it great for biking, running or walking. Stewart Beach was named one of the 10 Best Beaches for Families by Family Vacation Critic in 2013.

 

Have an adventure

 

That baby I took to Galveston is now fifteen years old! On our next trip, he is sure to have his eye on some of the adventurous activities

on Galveston beaches. Parasailing, jet boating, wave running, paddle boarding, surfing and flyboarding are a few of the fun rentals, lessons and tours we can try.

 

Galveston Island State Park

 

Galveston Island State Park was named one of the top 5 “Best Gulf Coast Beaches” by Travel Channel in 2013. It’s your best option if you enjoy a more natural, and perhaps less crowded beach experience. Hiking, biking, fishing, paddling and camping are popular here. Birdwatchers flock (pun intended) to Galveston for its outstanding bird watching opportunities.

Check the website or ask when you arrive about ranger programs, which include nature talks, star parties, paddle tours and art programs. Galveston Island State Park has a nature center where you can learn more about the park’s unique ecology. Kids can participate in a Junior Ranger program!

 

Moody Gardens

 

Moody Gardens is an aquarium, museum, theater and water park and adventure park in one! BONUS: it’s educational! All exhibits have an emphasis on education and conservation.

Buy a 1- or 2-day pass that gets you unlimited access to nine fun activities or purchase activities a la carte. My kids will love the zip line, ropes course and water park (open seasonally). The aquarium, rainforest and museum will be great low key activities for the whole family.

The aquarium will be closed from late August through November 2016 for renovations. Look for a new and improved aquarium with new exhibits and surprises (like penguins!) soon.

 

Pleasure Pier

 

Pleasure Pier is a classic seaside amusement park, complete with roller coaster, ferris wheel, carousel and other fun attractions. Try your skill at one of the Midway games or sample your favorite amusement park foods.

 

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island

 

Schlitterbahn has earned its reputation for being one of the most exciting water parks anywhere, and you’ll find it in Galveston. Water slides, pools and play zones have been designed for all ages and interests. Whether your family loves big thrills or a lazy day by the pool, Schlitterbahn has it

 

Take a tour

 

Galveston has a long list of fun tours on land and sea for families. On land, check out an art tour, ghost tour, bike tour or an Amazing Race-style tour. On sea, choose from a dolphin tour, fishing tour, kayak tour, paddle wheel tour and others. If you can’t choose, get both land and sea on a Duck Tour!

 

Visit a museum

 

Galveston has great museums to fit a variety of interests. Here are a few of the top rated museums for families in Galveston.

Tall Ship ELISSA is a restored, three-masted ship that still sails! It is part of the Texas Seaport Museum, a short walk from the cruise dock and Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. It’s is a good place to learn about local maritime history and get a first-hand experience on a beautiful ship.

 

Lone Star Flight Museum is a top rated museum that houses an award winning collection of vintage airplanes. Depending on your interest in historic planes dating back to the 1930’s, you could spend an hour or all day. If you REALLY love planes, consider booking a ride in one of the planes. Airplane rides are available for teens and adults for an additional cost.

 

Galveston Railroad Museum and Terminal is a must for train lovers. It houses full-size engines and cars, an elaborate model train, plus related historical exhibits. Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum looks especially interesting! Offshore oil is a huge local industry, and there aren’t many other places where you can explore a real oil rig. Ocean Star is a retired rig, within walking distance of shore via pedestrian bridge. Tours are self-guided, with lots of family-friendly exhibits.

 

Galveston Children’s Museum is a slam dunk for families with preschool and elementary age kids. It is loaded with hands-on science and art activities in an air-conditioned building near the Strand historic district.

 

Bishop’s Palace

 

Bishop’s Palace is a beautifully preserved Victorian mansion, and one of the most popular activities in Galveston. The American Institute of Architects has named it one of the 100 Most Important Buildings in America. Both guided and self-guided tours are available, so you can spend as much or as little time here as you would like.

Bishop’s Palace is not the only historic mansion tour in Galveston. It is one of eight historic buildings open for tours.

 

Explore Downtown and the Strand

 

The Strand is the historic section of Galveston that survived the 1901 hurricane that destroyed much of the city. Today it is a family-friendly shopping district full of local shopping and dining. It’s a great place to get an ice cream cone and soak up the spirit of Galveston!

Get your Galveston Island Pass

 

If you’re exploring multiple attractions, get your Galveston Island Pass and save up to 40% off retail price when select four or more venues. For a list of attractions.

Singapore opening: Galveston Island

Beaches, historic buildings, million dollar mansions, fairground rides and delicious seafood can all be enjoyed on a day out on Galveston Island, Texas.

 

Galveston’s Strand Historic District, centred around the five blocks between 20th and 25th street near the wharf, is a wonderful reflection of the architectural styles popular in the mid- to late 1800s when the city hit its zenith. You can stroll under the high canopies of many shop fronts with their wrought iron balconies perusing the antiques, gifts, T-shirts and all manner of other goods, or take some refreshment in one of the cafes along the way.

 

We ventured into La King’s Confectionery shop where glass cabinets filled with chocolates of all shapes and sizes and multi-coloured candies flank a long seating area. Here you can indulge in a soda, milkshake or float made in a 1920s soda fountain, which is served from behind a marble counter on the other side of the shop.

 

In the Red Dirt Shirts company we learned how the idea for these unusual terracotta-coloured T-shirts came about when Hurricane Ike hit Hawaii in 1992, turning the proprietor’s stock of white T-shirts the colour of the red earth churned up by the storm. The owner saw an opportunity for a unique dying process and today sells his Red Dirt Shirts in Arizona, Utah and Hawaii as well as Texas.

 

Galveston’s history is also reflected in the many Victorian houses on the Island, a number of which are open to the public. We visited the Moody Mansion built in 1895 by the British architect William Tyndall for local socialite Narcissa Willis. After her death, the house was sold to W.L.Moody, a wealthy businessman who moved in with his wife and four children. The Moody family lived there until 1986 when it was turned into an historic museum. Some of the rooms are absolutely delightful and a guided tour of the house gives an interesting insight into the life of this Victorian Texas family.

 

Another historical house worth a look is the Bishop’s Palace, a mansion built in 1893 for the lawyer and politician Walter Gresham and his family. This house was purchased in 1923 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston and became the residence of Bishop Christopher Byrne until 1963. Both houses survived the hurricane of 1900, reputedly the deadliest in US history, which killed more than 10,000 people.

 

If historical buildings do not interest you, there are plenty of other activities to do in Galveston, such as spending a few hours on one of the Island’s beaches to the south, or enjoying a drink in one of the many bars and restaurants along Seawall Boulevard. There is a pleasure pier near the main beach area with fairground rides, amusements and eateries.

 

We elected to go on a short harbour tour with an amusing commentary from the boat captain, during which we saw two or three dolphins surfacing near the boat, probably out of curiosity which was an added bonus.

 

The Railroad Museum is great for train enthusiasts, with its many late 19th and early 20th century rail cars (some of which you can step inside) and the lovely Santa Fe Union station building with its white, plaster figures of people sitting or standing awaiting the arrival of their train.

 

Other places to visit on Galveston Island, depending on your interests, include Seawolf Park with its World War II submarine and destroyer, the restored 1877 tall ship Elissa, which you can climb aboard and the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig, which is now a museum.

 

We finished our day with a delicious seafood dinner at Olympia Grill on Pier 21, the waterfront dining and entertainment area near Galveston’s historic harbour.

Cyber security: Fraud rises as cybercriminals flock to online lenders

Cybercrime is becoming more automated, organized and networked than ever before, according to the ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report: Q4 2016.

 

Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting online lenders and emerging financial services, says Vanita Pandey, vice president of strategy and product marketing, ThreatMetrix.

 

[ Related: 8 tips to defend against online financial fraud threats ]

 

ThreatMetrix’s report is based on data drawn from its ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network, which analyzes about 2 billion transactions per month for insight into traffic patterns and emerging threats. The network uses a real-time policy engine to analyze transactions — about 44 percent of which originate from mobile devices — for legitimacy based on hundreds of attributes, including device identification, geolocation, previous history and behavioral analytics.

 

ThreatMetrix’s data shows 1 million cyberattacks targeted online lending transactions throughout 2016, Pandey says . It estimates the total value of these transactions at about $10 billion. It expects the number of attacks to continue to grow in 2017. Indeed, the number of attacks specifically targeting alternative lending increased by 150 percent quarter-over-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2016. That doesn’t mean criminals have stopped targeting banks: ThreatMetrix says it detected 80 million attacks using fake or stolen credentials during 2016 in the finance sector alone.

 

It should be noted that attacks are increasing both in number (ThreatMetrix says it detected and stopped nearly 122 million attacks in real-time in the fourth quarter, an increase of more than 35 percent over the previous year) and in proportion: growth in attacks outpaced overall transaction growth, and the overall rejected transaction rate grew by 15 percent.

 

[ Related: Online card fraud up as thieves avoid more secure chip cards for in-store payments ]

 

“Fraud has evolved from being like robbing a house to being a big heist on a bank or institution,” Pandey says.

 

Increasingly, she explains, cybercriminals are stealing identities and using them to create accounts that they allow to sit and mature, sometimes for years, before leveraging them for crime.

 

First, she says, criminals buy, trade and augment stolen identity credentials from any of the numerous data breaches that occur with increasing frequency.

 

“Most of us have been breached, whether you’ve stayed at an InterContinental Hotel, or you had a Yahoo account or you have a LinkedIn password you haven’t changed in four years,” she says.

 

Those credentials are then used to create new accounts with retailers, banks and e-lenders. E-lenders are frequently targeted, perhaps because the criminals see them as softer targets than more established banks, according to ThreatMetrix.

 

“They will then use automated bot attacks on a new site to create an account for you,” Pandey says. “If it doesn’t exist, they’ll create an account. If it does, they’ll bring in sophisticated tools to crack your password. They’ll let an account sit and mature for a while. Once your identity has been verified, a lot of times you won’t be stepped up or challenged. Imagine if I have a stable account, I’ve been transacting for two years nicely and then I use my account to buy a big item and change my address, they may not flag that.”

 

Pandey says ThreatMetrix sees a lot of fraud being committed with accounts that have five or even six years of credit history and a big credit file. Even victims who regularly check their credit reports may not pick up on the fraud, as the criminals take care not to damage their victims’ credit ratings until the accounts mature.

 

“Due to its surge in popularity, and fast transaction cycles, online lending has become a prime target for cybercriminals,” she says. “Online lenders are under increasing pressure to adopt smarter authentication methods that leverage real-time, behavior-based intelligence to accelerate genuine loans and prevent fraud. This is the only way to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.”

 

Developing countries becoming bigger players in online fraud game

 

This type of fraud isn’t limited to the U.S. and other developed nations. ThreatMetrix says it has seen this type of fraud originating in developing countries including Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Nigeria and Macedonia. ThreatMetrix also reports a significant increase in attacks, particularly identity spoofing attacks, from emerging economies including Tunisia, Ukraine, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Serbia, Morocco, Guadeloupe, Qatar and Cuba.

 

“The fact that developing nations are becoming bigger players in the online fraud game demonstrates the spread of breached identity data to countries across the globe,” Pandey says. “One in four transactions on our network is now cross-border, illustrating a global village economy that’s continuing to take root. Global data breaches are making stolen identity data globally available via the dark web, and this information is traded by organized and networked crime rings.”

 

How to keep the online digital world safe

 

With cybercriminals becoming more ambitious and more sophisticated, Pandey says it’s becoming clear that text-based authentication needs to be deprecated. In fact, she says, any static information used for authentication that must be stored by a company is susceptible to a data breach and therefore an outdated way of thinking about secure authentication, identity verification and fraud prevention.

 

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the only true way to keep the online digital world safe and secure, (and processing transactions in the manner that technology-savvy consumers expect), is by analyzing the digital identity of every online user, an identity that is built on dynamic, shared intelligence harnessed from sources far wider than the individual companies a user transacts with,” the ThreatMetrix report says.

 

Behavioral analytics and machine learning are the keys to making this work.

 

“It is only by using this holistic, crowdsourced approach to digital identities that companies can be more confident of accurately differentiating fraudsters from genuine customers,” the report concludes. “In the case of Yahoo, the cookies might have been forged, but the online footprint of those fraudsters would have been markedly different to the genuine users, and it is up to Yahoo to be able to detect that in order to protect sensitive customer data.”

Online security review: Hacking Is About to Get a Lot Harder With Card less ATMs

A few years back, a friend of mine was traveling from New York City to Paris. After landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport, he reached for his wallet, but realized it was no longer in the back of his trouser pocket. He had been pick-pocketed during his metro ride. All of his cash, credit cards, and debit cards were gone.

 

Were something like this to happen in the near future, my friend would’ve had a much easier time making it through the next 48 hours, so long as he had his smartphone. In just the last few weeks, a number of banks have announced plans for cardless ATMs. Wells Fargo (WFC, +0.26%), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM, -0.32%), and Bank of America (BAC, -0.16%) are all piloting their own initiatives. The basic idea is that a code will be generated on the banks’ mobile apps that consumers can use to unlock their bank accounts, enabling them to withdraw money from an ATM simply by tapping their device when they’re in front of the ATM.

 

The smartphone has already established itself as an indispensable device for nearly everyone on the planet, even in some of the most remote and seemingly underdeveloped regions. But with respect to innovations, we are still only scratching the tip of the iceberg. Despite claims that innovation in smartphones may be dying and that the market is becoming flat, there is still plenty of room for innovative, non-trivial design changes and introduction of new features. In the next few versions of our smartphones, there will be integration with augmented reality, flexible and bendable screens, and even wireless audio and wireless battery charging.

 

Of course, connectivity of this magnitude has already taken shape, from smart cars to smart homes to targeted advertising. Paying for purchases, therefore, needs to be just as seamless as the rest of our lives are becoming. Thanks to the likes of Apple (AAPL, +0.33%) Pay, Android Pay, and Square (SQ, -0.94%), mobile-payments systems are now poised to cause massive disruption. The significant majority, nearly 80%, of Apple Watch users use Apple Pay to pay for both online and in-person purchases. Android has followed suit with its Android Pay system, allowing customers to walk through a physical store and select an item, tap their phone to scan a barcode, and make a purchase without even thinking of waiting in line.

 

As with any new form of payment technology, though, there’s typically a catch. In mobile banking, the catch is significant when considering the level of security breaches and fraud. Fraud in 2014 caused approximately $32 billion in losses in the U.S. retail industry in 2014. To mitigate this across in-store, online, and mobile payments, payment companies and card issuers started the move from magnetic stripes to chip-based cards. While that did stymie the losses, still, in 2016, it was predicted that there would be about $4 billion in retail fraud in the U.S. And, in the U.K. for example, where chip-based credit cards were introduced a decade ago, online fraud rose 79% in the first three years of introduction of chips-based cards. Similar stories abound in Australia and Canada. So the threat from moving to new payment systems is non-trivial and real, and often inadvertent.

 

For many banks, though, it turns out that mobile-phone-enabled, cardless ATM transactions have the potential to actually reduce the threat of fraud and security breaches. This is especially true of threats from skimmers, or fraudsters who copy card and ID numbers from the magnetic stripes of the widely used plastic cards in ATM machines.

 

In ATM skimming, scammers use various kinds of electronics to steal the personal information stored on your card, record your PIN number to access your account, and withdraw your cash. First, a fake card reader (known as a skimmer) is placed over the ATM’s real card slot. As an unsuspecting user slides their card into the ATM, they basically end up inadvertently sliding it through the scammer’s counterfeit reader, which then stores your card’s info. To gain access to the bank account on an ATM, the skimmers use tiny cameras hidden on or near the ATMs to get a clear view of the keypad, record the tapping activity on the ATM’s screen, and get the PIN number.

 

That being said, phishers—malicious hackers interested in identity theft or stealing credit card information—in the past have hacked into unsuspecting smartphone users, often web browsing using a public Wifi, to retrieve sensitive financial or personal information. So the only way a phisher could steal a user’s banking info is if he or she was on a public WiFi when doing cardless ATM banking.

 

On the whole, cardless ATM banking provides immediacy, security, and accessibility. Next time a family member desperately needs cash in a foreign land or my child has lost her wallet, I know I can bail them out simply by passing on the code from my phone app to them. All they need to do is to find the nearest ATM.