Did you know that around 40% of ATM-related crimes occur between 7 pm and midnight in the United States?
When and how you conduct transactions at the ATM can put your finances and personal info at risk.
If you want to be quick at the ATM and get your money without any issues, there are a few things to get into the habit of.
Keep reading to learn about the most common ATM mistakes and how you can resolve them if it’s too late!
Keep Your Wallet Out
One of the biggest ATM mistakes you can make is leaving without your card or money.
Instead of grabbing your card and putting your wallet back in your purse or pocket, keep it out. After you complete your transaction, you can step to the side or drive forward and get organized. When you put your wallet away before you’re finished, you may second guess yourself or misplace your card and money.
If you’re driving up to the ATM, place your wallet in the passenger seat or on the center console.
What If the Machine Ate Your Card?
There’s nothing scarier than the thought of an ATM eating and shredding your debit card.
Most banks check the ATMs at the start and end of each day. They store the cards that were taken and until you visit the bank, you won’t have access. Some branches automatically throw away cards or send them to central offices.
If you check with the bank and they don’t have your card, you must call your issuer and get it canceled immediately.
Don’t Assume All ATMs Are the Same
Not all ATMs are created equally, and some of them won’t even provide access to fiat money.
It’s best to use your bank’s ATMs if they are located nearby. If you need to use a public ATM, make sure they accept your card and understand the fees. With cryptocurrency on the rise, you may also encounter Bitcoin and other digital currency ATMs.
Some financial institutions own an ATM machine so they can better manage cash flow.
If you want to deposit money into your account or access statement info, you’ll need an ATM that works directly with your bank. Most ATMs will spit back cards that aren’t compatible with the system. Be careful and check before inserting your card, however, because some will eat the cards.
Save Transactions for Daytime
As mentioned above, there is a larger risk when you visit the ATM in the evenings and overnight.
The line might be a bit longer before and after work, but you’re much safer banking during daylight. Not only are there more eyes around, but people are less likely to steal from you if they can be easily identified. The dark provides a mask for thieves since cameras go into night vision and can’t detect as many details from the shadows.
It’s helpful to visit the ATM during standard business hours because you can get assistance if you need it. Bank tellers and management are on the premises to help you get your cards, money, or account details if the ATM isn’t working.
Can’t Avoid Nighttime Banking?
If you can’t avoid the ATM during the middle of the night, make sure you visit your local branch.
ATMs located at the bank are more secure and heavily monitored. Some banks hire security for overnight hours, but the cameras can also give you comfort. If you have someone else in the vehicle, ask for them to kindly watch the surroundings and notify you of anyone approaching the ATM.
Depending on what you need to do, you can complete transactions online and avoid nighttime ATM visits. You can transfer money to someone you owe or deposit a check without leaving the house. Use your phone and bank’s application to complete paperless transactions.
Gather What You Need
If you don’t want people honking at you or getting frustrated, you need to get everything gathered before your ATM trip.
Consider your transition and determine what you’ll need. You can place the items together in your wallet so that you are prepared when you pull up. If you know there will be a line, you can pull out your card while other people complete their transactions.
Always keep your car doors locked and windows closed when you wait in line. If you aren’t in a vehicle keep your cash and cards hidden until you are at the ATM. Keep in mind that if you’re depositing a check, you need to sign the back of it.
Pay Attention to the Machine
It can be difficult to spot, but if you notice new pieces on your ATM, they may not be safe.
Thieves place special tech on ATMs to collect card numbers. They use the info collected by the device without having to take your card. If you can twist off a piece of the ATM, especially around the card insert, you should contact the bank immediately.
Avoid putting your card in a machine that looks suspicious. You should cancel your account right away if you notice the theft too late. Pay attention to your accounts after you get a new card to ensure they don’t continue to have access to your funds.
Take Your Time
Although you don’t want to hold up the line, you should take your time to ensure you don’t input the wrong number and have to restart.
When you rush through the process and make a mistake, 2 things can happen. You can press cancel and have to start over, or you can withdraw the wrong amount. Neither issue is major but when you’re in a rush, you can make things worse by going fast.
Always check for accuracy and double-check the details on the confirmation pages. Use caution and discretion when your input your PIN to avoid someone from stealing your card and using it.
Review your receipt after each ATM transaction to identify abnormal balances.
Double-Check ATM Fees
You shouldn’t have to pay to get access to your money, but many ATMs will charge a fee.
There shouldn’t be any fees if you go to an ATM that is associated with your bank. Some public and universal ATMs won’t charge you for transactions, but they are rare. Most ATMs charge $1.00 to $3.50 for each transaction, however, some will charge you up to $10.00!
The government requires that all ATMs explicitly state their fees. You can find the fees on the ATM itself, on paper nearby, or on the screen. Don’t insert your card until you know how much it’ll cost, especially if your balance is low.
ATMs located at gas stations, convenience stores, and casinos tend to charge the most. You can also expect high fees if you use an ATM at a sporting event or concert.
Fight the Fees
If you read this one click too late, don’t worry, there is a way to get your money bank.
As long as you are in good standing with your bank, they will normally clear the charge from your account. Call your bank and politely ask them to remove the service charge, if there was no ATM from their institution nearby, they refund the fees.
Keep the Door Closed
Typically, ATMs that aren’t located in a drive-thru are inside a vestibule, which is connected to the bank.
These vestibules require customers to scan their cards to enter the building and gain access to the ATM. The purpose of these is to help protect customers from theft and increase privacy when handling cash. Always keep the doors closed and never prop them open once you enter.
When you finish your transaction, safely put your money and cards away and close the door behind you. Regardless if someone is already waiting, you must close the door to prevent people coming in that aren’t permitted. Anyone that has used the bank before will be familiar with this custom and won’t view it as disrespectful.
Don’t Waste Time With These ATM Mistakes
Learning about the most common ATM mistakes can prevent you from losing time and money.
By observing your surroundings and keeping your money and cards secure, you can quickly move on with your day. Since PINs can be observed, use your discretion and never share your passcode with anyone. Try to visit the bank during daylight, but if you can’t go to a well-lit and monitored ATM location.
Taking these steps at your local ATM will protect you and your money. Don’t worry, contact your bank if you notice anything suspicious or if your card has been lost.
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