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ATM timeout for your card

In my local paper was a (humorous) column about the columnist's family vacation in Mexico. When using an ATM upon arrival the ATM “ate” his card. When his adult daughter arrived later, same thing happened to her. He found out that in Mexico ATMs are fixed so if a card isn’t retrieved within a short time, the machine sucks the card back in. When machine is opened at a later time by an employee, they cut up the card.

This wasn't in Europe, but maybe it is something to consider. It could be coming soon to an ATM you will be using. Remove your card asap after your transaction is completed. And another reason to try to use only ATMs at an open bank where you can get help if needed.

Posted by
19612 posts

I think that has been the situation with US ATMs for a number of years. A number of years ago my credit union indicated you have 15 secs to take the card. You always take the card as soon as possible. The concern is that you walked away forgetting the card and therefore, it is sucked back in to prevent someone else from getting it. I bet the same situation is in Europe. But I am not willing to experiment.

Posted by
6705 posts

We've encountered that all over Europe for several years now. When the machine spits your card out and lights flash indicating it's time to withdraw the card - it really does mean business.

Posted by
2880 posts

My husband had this happen at our local bank ATM in The States years ago. Unfortunately, it was after hours, so he couldn't retrieve it from the bank. Back then, both of our ATM cards were the same number, so when the machine ate his card, it also blocked my card. I was on a work trip at the time - luckily had enough money to return home.

Posted by
3157 posts

A Mexican ATM swallowed my card a few years ago. I went back the next day and it was certainly still intact, and I had a photocopy to help identify myself. These days I carry ATM cards from two different banks and different systems (VISA, MasterCard). They are never together in the same wallet. A card may be rejected, inexplicably, and the second works. If the machine doesn't like either card then I don't trust the machine and find another one.

Posted by
4379 posts

Some ATMs have been programed to spit the card out first, then the money. The banks know you are less likely to walk off without your money. Bottom line though, is yes, the machine will eat your card if you do not collect it.

Posted by
2591 posts

Most banks will NOT return an ATM card to you if the ATM keeps it. That's the rules. They have to find the people necessary to open the ATM and find the card (there can be many in the machine). They have to verify your identity and that it is really you and not someone who stole your card and passport/ID. They have to verify why the card was kept (if your bank responded with a "keep the card" message, the are prohibited from returning it to you). All of which can take a significant amount of time.

Many ATMs in the US, pre chip card, did not hold onto the card anyway. You simply inserted it in the slot and then pulled it out. Unfortunately with how chips work, the card has to remain in the machine until the transaction is completed. My bank does make you take your card before letting you have your cash now so the chance of forgetting it is nearly zero. They have more instances of people driving off without their cash!

Posted by
600 posts

My card got "eaten" at my local bank in Canada. I was a little slow between several transactions and the atm timed out. Luckily, the bank was open and i got my card back.

Posted by
8041 posts

Lynn, All the machines in Europe I have ever encountered are programmed to return the card first, and then only after the card has been removed is the money dispensed.
The reason is if the money is dispensed before the card is returned, too many people forget to collect the card. People are less likely to leave without the money, and they can't get the money without taking their card.

Posted by
955 posts

This happened to me years ago in Paris, but instead of the card, it sucked back all the money. It really happened fast--maybe in 10 seconds. The woman in the bank only spoke French, but assured me that they'd find the "error" when they cleared our the ATM at the end of the day. Needless to say, I disputed the ATM charge when I contacted my bank, and they credited the account with the amount of the withdrawal. So be sure to grab your card--and your cash--quickly.