Today’s modern arsenal of bank and credit union security devices offers a dizzying array of options. From hi-tech eye scan equipment and personalized biometrics to Internet of Things (IoT) activated systems, the offerings can be overwhelming. Where do banks start when building a comprehensive security system? How do credit unions know if they’re spending security budgets on the right equipment?

Although each financial institution has its own unique requirements, industry experts agree on the basic security equipment that every bank and credit union must have in place to defend against the most common breaches.


The most comprehensive, and therefore, the most important single piece of security equipment is an integrated central alarm system. Such a system is the first step to satisfying the FDIC’s minimum security device regulation.

An advanced access system should ensure that all external entry points to the bank are equipped with tamper-proof locking mechanisms. Most banks focus their efforts primarily on securing traditional door access, but attention should also be given to any possible entry point an unauthorized entrant may attempt. All windows should be equipped with glass break sensors, and ductwork should have pressure and motion alarms. Every internal location with access to cash, like teller workstations and cash desks, should also be secured with alarm activators.


Whereas access and alarm systems protect banks and credit unions against unauthorized access, video surveillance systems continue to be the primary tool in identifying and apprehending robbers, intruders, and any unauthorized entrants. Video cameras should be positioned at all critical locations including external access points, cash access locations, teller desks, drive-throughs, and ATMs.

Advanced digital video systems can provide remote viewing and advanced analytics that go beyond intruder identification to offer customer studies that enhance efficiency and profitability metrics.


Knowing who gains access to a secure facility is critical. That’s why banks and credit unions are implementing personalized access systems. Unlike generic entry keys which can be shared by employees or fall into the wrong hands, custom access systems ensure that only those individuals authorized for entrance can gain access.

The two most popular types of such access devices are card swipe machines and entry keypads. With both approaches, employees are assigned a card or a password that is unique to themselves. Custom codes keep track of what employees are in the building at any given time, and if a card is lost, it can be immediately deactivated to eliminate unauthorized access.


The final must-have piece of security equipment guards against the most frequent form of ATM attacks. ATM card skimming now accounts for nearly 95% of all bank losses, and as customers continue to favor such automated services, ATM crime is expected to increase. ATM Skimming refers to the stealing of a customer’s ATM card information, as well as their PIN.

Would-be thieves use a combination of keypad covers and internal devices to duplicate account access codes and drain customer accounts without ever having entered a branch location. In the past, banks and credit unions had to wait until the first ATM breach was reported. Today, however, there are highly effective security devices that can detect skimming activity and provide alert monitoring.

Remaining vigilant against the ever-changing security threats is a daunting task. The attention that is given to growing cyber threats often pulls time and attention away from the equally important commitment to ensure physical safety for bank employees, customers, and their assets. Every financial institution, regardless of its size, must allot sufficient resources for the four pillars of basic bank security: alarm systems, video surveillance, employee access and ATM security.

For more resources on how to make sure your company has the necessary security systems installed, contact SPC Companies – committed to helping bank and credit union professionals sleep better at night.