Why old fashioned locks and physical keys are a big problem


The ATM industry has been using outdated physical keys for years. Although many recognise the need for change, they continue to use the same old fashioned locks and manual access processes for ATM maintenance and cash replenishment. 

Relying on physical keys not only brings security risks but more importantly reduces operational efficiency. 

It is time to replace these old fashioned locks with modern, key-less access processes which significantly reduce ATM costs, simplify operations and improve efficiency.

Problems with today’s old fashioned locks and physical keys 

Rising operational costs

  • Service engineers experience first-hand the challenges surrounding the old fashioned locks and physical keys. They typically need to collect keys from the key centre and then return them at the end of the day.This is time-consuming and expensive. 
  • CIT teams usually need to call into a call centre to receive the code to openthe safe. They also usually call in to provide the lock close seal when they leave the location. This wastes time and money. 

Increasing Security risks

  • Physical keys can be lost or stolen, and typically ATM deployers use the same top box key for all the ATMs in the network. With no centralised access management system and no audit trail, there is no way of knowing who was actually at the ATM. Easy unauthorised access to the ATM top box brings risks of software attacks such as ‘jack potting’ and ‘black box’ crime.

ATM downtime

  • The need for key-holder visits results in ATM downtime which impacts customer satisfaction.The key could be missing, or put in the wrong bag, meaning the engineer cannot do the job.

Staff health and safety risks

  • COVID-19 raises concerns about handling keys, ‘meet-and-greets’ with key-holders and visiting key centres numerous times a day.

Carbon footprint concerns

  • Extra travelling due to the need to pick up and drop off keys wastes not only money but also fuel.
TMD High Security key-less Access Management solves these problems

Key-less access management is a centrally managed, efficient access management solution for any type of access point. The four main solution elements are: 

  • High-Security Key-Less OTC locks: Intelligent, certified and high-security key-less locks are used for all types of access points including ATM safe, top box, access doors and branch. 
  • Mobile App: The high-security mobile app is used for fast and automated real-time access management and audit trail. 
  • Access Management Server Application: The centralised management of user permissions and schedules validates the right person is at the right place at the right time before access is granted.
  • Encryption Server: Encrypted single-use OTCs are sent directly to the locks via the mobile app.

The business benefits of eliminating old fashioned locks and physical keys

Increased ATM Availability

Fast access for FLM, SLM CIT and Facilities Management personnel reduces ATM down time and improves customer service.

  • No need to schedule key-holder visits for service calls and maintenance. Service engineers can save time and get the ATM up and running again fast.


No need to travel to pick up and drop off keys or provide keyholder services. 

  • Eliminating physical keys significantly reduces carbon footprint.
  • No need for service engineers to waste fuel travelling to key centres to pick up and drop off keys.
  • No need for keyholders to waste fuel travelling to and from service engineer call-outs.

Centrally managed access

Pre-approved schedules and user permissions ensure the right person is at the correct location at the approved time.

  • User-friendly application for scheduling access, logging lock, user and mobile IDs and permissions.
  • Dashboard showing real-time lock and ATM security status.
  • Instant insight into unscheduled events and security risks.
  • Remote deactivation and activation of users with no need to physically visit the location.
  • Secure, third-party access for service partners.
  • Real-time audit trail

Improved security

Physical keys are replaced with One Time Codes and secure mobile app. Real-time audit trails and alerts.

  • No risk pf physical keys being lost or stolen. Physical keys are replaced with a secure mobile app and OTCs.
  • No risk of unauthorised access. Users and schedules are managed centrally.
  • No risk of locks and doors being left open. The management application generates an alert if a close seal has not been generated because the lock and door have not been closed.
  • No risk of alarms being left off after access. The alarm switch can be integrated into the access schedule

Improved customer service

  • Eliminating physical keys with no need for keyholders means that service engineers can resolve ATM issues fast and ATM downtime is significantly reduced.

Improved employee morale

  • Service engineers can focus on their core competencies. They do not waste time travelling to collect and drop off keys and they do not need to perform keyholder duties.


  • Key-less access management ensures compliance with regulations which require ‘four-eye’ verification and an automated audit trail for CIT replenishment visits.

Unlock the new world of TMD High Security Access Management 

Old fashioned locks and physical keys are a thing of the past.

Now is the time to significantly reduce ATM costs, simplify operations and improve efficiency.


For more information on TMD’s High Security Access Management contact us:


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