By Nike Popoola, Personalbanking@punchng.com
One of the most embarrassing experiences a bank customer can have while using the Automated Teller Machine is when the machine withholds his/her card without dispensing cash.
The ATM is expected to work like a mobile bank that should enable you to have access to your funds anywhere and anytime you insert your card into the machine.
In as much as the ATM has lots of advantages, its essence can be defeated if it swallows the customer’s card when he needs money.
Here are some ways to protect the ATM from swallowing your card:
- Avoid suspicious ATMs: Some ATMs may not have been properly serviced and may be faulty. If you see some signs that it looks unkempt or abandoned, avoid inserting your card in such machines. Always read instructions on the ATM because most times, there are usually some notes on the machine to inform you that the ATM is faulty and that you should use another one. Some ATMs may also have been tampered with by criminals to steal users’ identities. Don’t be too much in a hurry to try your luck with such ATMs. Look for another ATM to be on a safe side.
- Multiple entries of wrong password: Be careful when typing your password on the ATM because when you make multiple attempts with the wrong password, the ATM may suspect that you stole the card and withhold it to protect the account holder’s fund.
- Expired card: An expired card will not bring out any money from the ATM. If you are trying to withdraw with such a card, the machine can swallow it.
- Blocked card: If you have reported to the bank to block your card because it is lost, but failed to ask your bank to un-block it after you found it, the ATM may swallow the card if you attempt to use it to withdraw money.
- Low balance: If you have a low balance in your account and you are still attempting to withdraw money, the ATM can swallow your card.
- Remove your card immediately after transaction: When the ATM gives you a message to remove your card and you fail to remove it on time, it may swallow it thinking that you have forgotten it or that it is now an abandoned card.
- Damaged card: If your card is damaged, broken or the magnetic strip has been affected, the ATM will not be able to read the card but will have to seize it.
- Stopped card: If the card has been reported as missing, or the bank has placed a stop order on it, the ATM can seize it if you make an attempt to use it to withdraw money.
- Wrongly inserting your card: You need to follow the arrow sign on your debit card and insert it into the ATM correctly. If you insert your card wrongly, the ATM may swallow it instead of returning it back to you.
- Wrong card: Some ATMs do not recognise some card providers. This happens a lot when you travel abroad. If you use your card on such ATMs, they can swallow it.
- Create a PIN: To use your card at the ATM, you must enter a Personal Identification Number, a secret combination of numbers or letters that you create. Your PIN is like a secret password. If someone else has it, they can take money out of your account; so, don’t share it with anyone! If you do give it out, you may be held responsible for any money you lose. So, to keep your money safe, keep your PIN a secret!
- Stay alert and aware: Because most ATMs give out cash and many accept deposits, it makes sense to be alert and aware of your surroundings no matter where or when you use an ATM.
- Follow onscreen directions: Not all ATMs work exactly the same way, but they are all designed to be easy to use.
- Be aware of fees: Your ATM card will work in machines operated by your own bank. It may also work in ATMs operated by other financial institutions. This flexibility is great, but be careful about the fees you may be charged by both your bank and the ATM owner.
- Know your available balance: Be sure you have enough money to cover your withdrawals. Remember that whenever you make a withdrawal with your debit card, the money will be withdrawn from your account.
- Record your transactions: Make a habit of writing your ATM transactions and the purchases you have made with your ATM card or debit card in your register right away so that you don’t forget. On a monthly basis, compare the amounts on your receipts to those on your bank statement to ensure that they match.
How to use an ATM
When you open an account, your bank will issue you a debit card, which you can use at the ATM.
Here are basic things to know about the ATM, according to http://www.handsonbanking.org.
Just follow the directions on the ATM screen that you are using.