What Happens If You Forget Your Debit Card in an ATM?
Discovering you left your debit card in an ATM is a frightening experience. Such a scenario would likely create images of someone withdrawing cash from your account, or using it for a shopping spree. Getting cash from an ATM is typically just one task on a person’s mind when shopping or running errands so it’s common for debit cards to be forgotten. Because of this, it’s important to know what happens if you forgot your debit card in an ATM, and what to do should you do so.
Types of ATM Readers
There are three major types of ATM readers:
- Dip Reader: The user inserts the card partway before removing it, allowing the ATM to read the card.
- Slide Reader: Users slide the magnetic strip through a grove for reading.
- Traditional: This type of ATM pulls your card completely into the machine
With dip and slide readers your card never leaves your hand. Traditional readers can operate in two different ways, both having an opportunity for the ATM to capture your card. The first type pulls your card into the machine and returns it at the end of your transaction. The second pulls the card in, then returns it once it verifies your PIN, but before you initiate a transaction. Take too long to remove your card in either situation and your card will be captured by the ATM.
What Happens To A Captured Debit Card?
If you use a traditional-style ATM and you forget to grab your card, it will be sucked back into the machine in a programmed amount of time (usually 30 seconds). It will stay in the machine until the next service cycle, at which time the operator will likely shred it.
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Actions If You Left Your Debit Card In An ATM
Leaving your debit card in an ATM should be handled much like a lost debit card:
- Check Your Account: Inspect your transaction history to see if any unauthorized transactions have occurred. If there are, someone may have taken your card before it was captured by the machine. You will want to report these transactions to your bank.
- Call The Number On the ATM: As mentioned, most likely your debit card will be shredded, and you will be unable to get it back. But it might be worth calling the number to find out if there is an off chance you can.
- Cancel Your Card: Call your bank to cancel your current debit card and to order a new one. If any unauthorized transactions have occurred, report them to your bank.
- Update Automated Payments: If you have any automated payments set up using your debit card, you’ll need to change them to your new debit card, or another account entirely until your new debit card arrives.
Should you lose for forget your debit card, it’s comforting to know federal legislation limits your liability for unauthorized charges. The amount you’re liable for is based on how fast you report your card loss.
- If you report the card missing before it’s used, you are liable for $0.
- Report the card missing within 2 business days and your maximum liability is $50
- More than 2 business days, but less than 60 days after your statement has been sent to you results in a maximum liability of $500
- If you report the card missing more the 60 days after your statement is sent to you, you are responsible for all charges
ATMs are a fixture in our lives, providing us cash with convenience. Occasionally you may have a momentary lapse of consciousness and leave your debit card in an ATM. Knowing what happens if you forgot your debit card in an ATM and what to do will help you recover from the failure quickly.
How about you, Clever Friends, have you ever left a debit card in an ATM?
Read more great articles from Clever Dude:
- Should My Teenager Get A Debit Card?
- 3 Reasons to Pay Attention to Your Debit or Credit Card Expiration Date
- Why Do I Need A Computer Chip on My Debit/Credit Card?
Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.
Ramona @ Personal Finance Today says
At least 3 times in the past. I just called the bank and could go in few hours to get my card back. They don’t shred them here, that fast 🙂
Money Beagle says
When you’re withdrawing money, the ATM at our local branch now makes you take your card before it dispenses your cash. I guess they know most people aren’t going to forget their money!