I have a plain jane, no chip, credit union ATM only card, that I use exclusively while on vacation in Europe. I have watched videos of the many ways ATM's can be compromised. I consider myself to be prudent. I had notified my credit union of my travel plans to Italy and the UK. I normally use my card only in bank ATM’s, preferably inside the bank, but I will use a bank ATM on the outside wall of their office. I religiously cover the keypad when entering my PIN.
I spent a month in Italy during May and June and used my ATM card a total of three times, while in Varenna and Siena, at bank ATM’s located on the outside wall of their branch offices without experiencing any problems. I then left Italy to spend several weeks in the UK.
While in London I had purchased some food with cash, as I normally do, at a busy local supermarket chain. As I was walking out of the store I noticed an ATM with the “AllPoint” logo. This interested me as supposedly I was able to make withdrawals without any network or other fees. I decided to test it and find out for sure if this was true. I inserted my card and it came back “card is invalid”. I tried it two more times with the same results. There were other people waiting to use the ATM so I left.
The next day I went to a bank ATM and had the same results. Later that night I used skype to call my credit union and inquire as to what the problem was. They explained that it was locked due to “suspicious activity”. I was told two withdrawals had been made, on the same day, about the same time, in Bulgaria and did I know anything about them! As I did not know anything about them I was told a fraud incident would be opened and the funds would be credited back into my account. In the meantime I could have my ATM card reactivated so that I could use it, or have it cancelled with a new card being mailed to my home address. As I have a backup ATM card on another account, I had them cancel the compromised card.
I know what you are thinking, waa, waa, waa, nothing to see here, nothing new, time to move on.
I DID LEARN SOMETHING NEW though, that I have never seen in any ATM forum discussions. I discovered that my credit union’s mobile banking app allows me to lock/unlock my ATM card AT WILL IN REAL TIME. I immediately locked my card and found a Barclays ATM for a test. I inserted my card and it came back “card is invalid”. Using my phone app I unlocked the card and immediately inserted it again into the ATM and it worked! I then locked it and immediately tried to use it again receiving the message “card is invalid”. So now my plan is to keep my ATM card locked at all times except for the minute or two while making a withdrawal.
Has anyone else ever heard of this or have this capability?