ATM Machines

What are most of the ATMs in Europe like? Are they swipe your card and put it back in the wallet or do they suck your card in and spit it out after the transaction?

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
13307 posts

As I remember, they are of the suck-it-in-spit-it-out variety. But that has never been a problem.

Posted by steve
troy, ny
413 posts

What are the chances of the atm swallowing it and not getting it back?

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7518 posts

It can happen, but 9 times out 10 you'll be okay. To cover you butt it's good to have a backup like emergency cash, or extra credit cards stored in your money belt or hotel room safe.

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
1007 posts

I remember having a very short time limit to take the card back -- otherwise it got sucked back in. During banking hours you can just go inside and ask for help; after hours it's wait until the next banking day.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7518 posts

How many have you lost using them in troy? The point is that it's physically unlikely to happen in Troy or many other places in the US since ATMs in this part of the world typically don't suck your card like ATMs across the pond.

Posted by Will
Columbia, SC
337 posts

ATM withdrawals work correctly a lot more often than 9 times out of 10!

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7518 posts

ATM withdrawals work correctly a lot more often than 9 times out of 10! "...figure of speech
n. pl. figures of speech An expression that uses language in a nonliteral way, such as a metaphor or synecdoche, or in a structured or unusual way, such as anaphora or chiasmus, or that employs sounds, such as alliteration or assonance, to achieve a rhetorical effect...."

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
13206 posts

Actually most of the advice given here by long term posters with many European trips under their belt (opps, apologize for using that phrase) is pretty good even if you want to make fun of it.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12537 posts

Should i get multiple cards from my bank? No. It might be a good idea to carry cards from a back-up bank though.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3341 posts

It would be more correct to say 99 times out of 100. It does happen on occasion, but it is unlikely to happen to you. It is certainly a good idea to have an extra ATM card if you can, and keep it separate from your primary card. Some people with a second bank will bring that ATM card along as a backup. On occasion, your ATM card won't work in a particular ATM machine. I've never understood why and when it happens I just move along to a different machine. And of course notify all your account holders of your specific travel plans so they (hopefully) don't block your cards. And have the toll-free phone numbers to call in case there is a problem.

Posted by Joseph
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
127 posts

Although I have never lost an atm card to a hungry machine, my friend lost one last October in Rome. Getting it back took about an hour. But he was fortunate, because the bank was open.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
931 posts

Just because a bank is open and your ATM card swallowed....doesn't mean you can retrieve it as my brother found out about a year ago. I like redundancy for critical items (i.e. gaining local currencies via ATMs).

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
8004 posts

One technique I use before traveling overseas is to order a new ATM card. A slight bend in your card (from being in your wallet) may be enough to keep the card from coming back through the slot. Even though this doesn't happen often, when I managed a bank branch it wasn't an unusual occurrence. Your card is considered property of the bank that issued it, so you're lucky if the place can/will give your card back. Since losing a card overseas is a much bigger inconvenience, I get a new card to reduce the chance.

Posted by celeste
44 posts

Also, try to plan so that you are not forced to use it at a non-bank ATM, such as in a convenience store or such (AutoGrill), where no one will be able to help you if there's a problem. Watch the prompts because as someone mentioned earlier, if you don't grab the spit-out card within 30 seconds, the machine will suck it back up again to protect you in case you just walked off and left it hanging there by accident.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

Am I the only one who has noticed some interesting and humorous words in this thread...suck, spit, swallow. What the heck? Turned out to be a funny thread somehow. It's always a good idea to have a back-up card just in case. Not a big deal if an ATM keeps your card at home, but it's a different story when travelling (not just in Europe but anywhere, really). Having said that, I don't believe I've ever had an ATM keep my card anywhere.

Posted by Tara
148 posts

Yes, um...great choice of words in this thread. And that cat video! Hilarious!

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2174 posts

I use ATMs in Seattle and Hawaii that all suck and spit. I can not remember the last time I used one that did not s&s.

Posted by Allen
Lafayette, LA
207 posts

I don't feel right walking up to a strange ATM I've never seen before and just conducting a transaction. I mean, shouldn't you at least get to know the ATM first? Perhaps a little conversation and a glass of wine or two?

Posted by Stay-ce
Northern California
150 posts

They suck and spit out before they give you your money. The best ATM's are the ones in the lobby of banks. You swipe your card outside, step over the bum sleeping on the step, walk inside, and use the ATM. Then hide your cash while you are still inside. Do not use an ATM that is covered in Graffiti or that looks shady. Avoid the free standing ATM's. There are plenty of legit Bank ATM's everywhere. If you are really worried just use them during business hours. I would take out the max so my trips where less frequent. Keep 5's in my little money pouch in my purse and the large bills (cards too) in my bra stash pouch that I wore on the side of my underwear. Much more comfortable than a money belt. :)

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
766 posts

Just take your money out early in the day, during bank hours, and with an ATM physically attached to a bank. Should any prolonged sucking occur, you can walk into the bank and have them help you resolve it. Have a second card (mine is for the same account) just in case. And yes, you have about 10 seconds to take your card back, so make sure you do so. I completely understand your anxiety. I always take a deep breath and say a little prayer with every transaction (US or abroad). 126 out of 127 times, it works out okay.

Posted by Roy
East Alabama
1055 posts

Famous last words: "I have never had a problem with an ATM." I use them but I do follow some of the advice posted above. Also, two cards on two different accounts, plus some cash in the local currency in my pocket when arrive. Things I learned the hard way.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4242 posts

I never had a problem with an ATM in Europe, ie., in England, Germany, Poland, France, Austria, didn't try it in Amsterdam, Prague or Budapest. The only time I had a credit card not returned, ie, eaten, by the ATM was in Los Angeles in the area of Little Tokyo some years ago. But it was my fault too since I was messing around with the keys. It was on a Sunday; I didn't go back to the bank the next day.