The proliferation of EMV-compliant automated teller machines in Europe has significantly reduced fraud losses, according to a report released Wednesday by the European ATM Security Team.

In the first six months of this year, criminals committed 4,629 ATM card-skimming incidents, down 19% from 5,693 in 2008's first half, said Lachlan Gunn, the security team's coordinator.

Financial losses caused by card skimming totaled $234.1 million, down 30%.

"This indicates that the EMV rollout at ATMs in Europe is helping to reduce skimming losses," Gunn said.

The EMV Integrated Circuit Card Specification is a widely used security format in several parts of the world but not in the United States. With EMV, cardholders must type in a four-digit PIN after inserting their chip cards into an ATM.

Nearly 393,000 ATMs are deployed in 31 European countries, and 92% of the machines are EMV-compliant, Gunn said; all must adhere to the EMV standard by November 2010.

Twenty countries, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom and France, which deploy a combined 356,302 ATMs, reported their fraud results to the security team for its crime report. The not-for-profit team is based in Edinburgh.