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18 Sep 2017

What To Do if ATM Swallows Your Card

If the Automatic Teller Machine happens to swallow your card during transaction, there are certain things you are supposed to do.
Illustrative photo by The Punch
There are steps to protect your cards and what you can do if the Automatic Teller Machine swallows your card, according to http://echeck.org.

Wait for 10 minutes to restart: As annoying as it may be, I suggest you wait 10 to 15 minutes first before doing anything. There is a good chance the ATM machine software will reset on its own and your card will spit back out.

Take note of the time, place and location: If waiting for 10 to 15 minutes does not resolve the issue, well move on to this.Note down the time the machine swallowed your card and try to be as specific as possible. Note the date, the place you are, and the type of machine (if possible). For example, is it an ATM outside a bank and/or controlled and branded by the bank, or is it a stand-alone ATM in the street, or an ATM in a mall? Does it have a name, brand logo, and/or any other details?

Is there a number you can call on the machine itself, or any helpful information that may be relevant? If so, you should make a note of it and have a quick look at the ATM to see if it has been tampered with. You may want to use your phone to take a picture of the ATM and the numbers on it so you can show a bank later.

Contact the bank account provider: The bank or institution you use will have its own rules and own definitions. Some will say you have to raise a claim with the bank, others will say that you have to raise an inquiry, and some may say your account is frozen and freeze your account until the matter is resolved.

It is not wise to contact the ATM provider unless the bank you use and the ATM provider are the same company. In this case, your problem may be resolved a little quicker. When you raise the issue with your bank, they will often contact the ATM provider; but if you raise it with the ATM provider, then they will refer you to your bank and/or account provider.

If you can’t find the bank associated with the ATM, look for the contact number on the ATM (there usually is) and call it for support. You may be able to get a technician to come to the location right away and deal with the issue.

If ATM swallows your card while abroad

This is not a good situation as there may be language problems and it may be difficult to fix the problem on the spot, especially if the ATM is not attached to a bank but is in some other location.

If you are not in your home country, the situation is more difficult as you may be dealing with language problems and it may not be easy to call up the bank on the spot.

Minimise risk; we suggest you use an ATM outside of or, even better, inside of an actual bank while travelling abroad. If the ATM swallows your card, you can simply walk into the bank or call for assistance — the bank will be able to resolve the issue on the spot.

Make sure you have a backup ATM card linked to the same account or a different bank account. If one ATM card gets eaten or lost, you still can access your bank account and get money.

How to prevent ATM card issues while abroad

Use ATMs inside of a bank branch lobby: If the ATM card gets swallowed, you can enlist the bank staff to resolve this for you. This is much easier than trying to resolve the issue if the ATM is in a remote area. So use ATM’s attached to an actual bank if you can.

Enlist the help of a local to contact the number on the ATM/ATM bank: If you are in a foreign country, you may not be able to call the ATM company/bank branch yourself. If you are in a public area such as the metro, mall, airport, try contacting the local security or help desk. They may be able to contact the bank for you and explain the situation. If there is no security around or help desk close, you may have to ask people around you for help. Ask a local to call the contact number on the ATM if you don’t have a working phone and the language is not your own.

Know your bank’s policy regarding ATM card problems while abroad: If you have ATM card issues while abroad, it’s a good idea to know your bank’s policy regarding this. Will they send you a new card in a reasonable amount of time for example?

Consider using a travel credit card while abroad, especially when making large purchases: Credit cards have better protection, better exchange rates, and can be rush-replaced within a few business days. If you want to use it like debit card, preload the credit card with money (above your monthly balance and use it like an ATM card to withdraw the cash).

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