It is a rare occurrence, but a very frustrating one: When bank customers use an Automated Teller Machine to make a cash withdrawal, they may not receive all, or any, of their requested cash. However, the bank still shows the withdrawal from the customer’s account, according to www.thebalance.com.
ATMs occasionally malfunction, such as cash getting stuck in the machine, and sometimes there is fraud involved. These issues almost always get cleared up, but they can create anxiety while you wonder whether or not you would get reimbursed or if the bank will even believe your story. What is more, this mishap could cause financial issues if your account was already running low.
How to handle ATM errors
In a best-case scenario, the bank or ATM operator will already know that the error occurred and will fix the error in your account before you can even get home and make a phone call. But in some cases, it would take more effort on your part.
If an ATM fails to give you money, report the incident as soon as possible.
Get details about the ATM
Record the exact time, date, and location of the malfunction.
If there are several machines at one location, which one was it? If you have got your phone handy, snap a few pictures and send yourself a text message for a digital record of when and where you got shorted.
Don’t continue using an ATM that didn’t give you money. ATM problems can also be a sign of fraud, so minimise contact with that machine.
Call your card issuer or bank
File a claim with your credit card company immediately (if it was a credit card) or your bank (if it was a debit card). Let them know exactly what happened, as this is the fastest way to get funds credited to your account. Your card issuer will sort things out with the ATM operator.
It does not hurt to try and contact the ATM owner, but your bank has the ultimate power to fix the situation. Even for ATMs in the lobby of a bank branch, onsite employees most likely cannot open the machine or reimburse you. If you bank with that same institution though, bank employees can take your claim in person.
If you use an ATM somewhere else, like at a convenience store, for example, it is probably worth telling an employee there. They might have a procedure to help move things along, and they can alert others who try to use the machine.
Consumer protections for ATM errors
Under the law, you are protected from these types of errors and fraud. Assuming you used a debit card, the law provides that your bank must investigate the incident and resolve your claim against the ATM operator.
After you notify your bank of the missing money, the bank will begin an inquiry. You should then see funds credited to your account within 10 days, known as a provisional credit, but many times it would happen within a day or so.
The bank calls this credit provisional because you only get to keep the money if the bank finds an error. If the bank decides against you, it will remove the credit, and you will be responsible for replacing the money if you already spent it.
Bank investigation into ATM error
Your bank has some days to investigate ATM withdrawals and other types of disputes, so nothing is certain until you hear back from the bank. The bank and ATM operator will do what they can to find out what happened: watch surveillance video, count cash in the machine, look for hidden devices that might have trapped the bills before they got into your hands, and more.
This does not make things any easier in the short-term, but there is a very good chance that you will be reimbursed eventually. If you have been unlucky enough to find a bad ATM, hopefully, you will find consolation in knowing that, based on the odds, chances are low it will ever happen to you again.
We live in a digital world, but sometimes you still need cash, and the easiest way to get money is often from an ATM. They are located almost everywhere in bank branches, convenience stores, and street corners. However, it is almost too easy to get cash, and we often forget that there are risks that come with using an ATM.
The risks are often small, and most of us can avoid trouble with basic common sense, but it is helpful to have a checklist in mind for staying safe. The main things to be aware of are: Your personal safety – somebody trying to steal cash, which might also involve physical injury
Identity theft – somebody getting information that can be used to get money later. Although you might not be liable for the losses, it’s possible to lose money, and cleaning up after identity theft is time-consuming.