UK banks pay millions to upgrade ATMs as XP support deadline approaches

Matthew Finnegan

UK banks pay millions to upgrade ATMs as XP support deadline approaches

The UK's five largest banks will be forced to pay millions of pounds to extend Windows XP service support for thousands of ATMs, as Microsoft's 8 April deadline approaches.

Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays and Santander UK will face a bill of up to £60 million for migration and support costs as they either begin or continue migration off XP, according to Reuters.

Microsoft warned in 2007 that it would end support for the popular OS, meaning that security patches would no longer be made available after the cut-off period. By extending support contracts for XP, which is used with 95 percent of ATMs around the world according to financial software provider NCR, the banks will ensure that machines are protected against viruses and hackers until upgrades are completed.

RBS plans to begin upgrading its ATMs to Windows 7 in 2015, as part of increased investment aimed at improving the bank's IT systems, and expects that upgrades for its 9,000 ATMs will take up to three years. Until this time RBS has agreed to pay Microsoft for extended support.

Lloyds will start updating its 7,000 ATMs this year, agreeing support up until 2016, while HSBC is already two years into a three year project with its 3,200 ATMs, which it believes will be complete next year.

Santander has agreed a deal with Microsoft for its 2,370 ATMs, while Barclays is still in negotiations with the software vendor.

According to Sridhar Athreya, head of financial services advisory at SunGard Consulting, the delay to operating system upgrades is down to banks focusing resources on meeting regulatory demands in the wake of the financial crisis.

"They were probably not very serious about the directive that came in from Microsoft. There's a lot of change going on at these banks at this moment in time and they would have seen Windows XP as one more change," he said.