Left my debit card in an ATM --what do I do?

I just discovered that I may have left my VISA / debit card in my bank’s ATM machine this morning. :smack: I had to go into work unexpectedly and I was in a rush, so once I got my money I drove off without thinking. I’ve never done this before and I’m really ticked off at my stupidity.

I’ve already called the bank’s after-hours service and reported the card lost. They say that they’ve turned the card access off and that I’ll have to get a new card issued by my bank. Aside from that, what else should I do? I’ve checked my accounts on-line and I don’t see any transactions logged yet for today, so I’m not certain that the card has been used for anything yet. My $20 withdrawal this morning doesn’t show yet, so I’m not comforted as to the amount shown in my accounts. I guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if anything fishy has gone on.

I’m hoping that the next person in line might have been honest enough to drop the card in the night depository slot – I know that’s what I would do. Still I won’t be certain until tomorrow.

Is there anything else I should do in the meantime to protect myself from further compromises on my account?

Thanks for any info you can provide!

You should be good. You can call your bank’s customer service and check if any unauthorized transactions were put through, if you’re worried. At worst, you’d only be responsible for $50 of it, and most banks will not hold you responsible for any of it, if you report the transactions in a timely manner. Additionally, the sort of ATM where you have to fully insert your card and can’t take it out til the transaction is complete will retain an ejected card if it is left in the slot for too long–typically 2-3 minutes.

Yeah, I did it, too, a couple of months back. I called the card’s emergency number, they canceled the thing, and sent me a new one. The next morning, I called the bank whose ATM I thought I might have left it in, and, sure enough, they had it.

Buy by that time, there was nothing to do but destroy it, which I did. A week laer, I had a new card – which was OK, as my old card was getting cracked.

I did that recently also. The machine will suck in the card if you don’t pull it out. I called the back and they had my card. Now maybe it was different for me because I was using my banks ATM card at the ATM near the bank, but I just called and picked up my card.


You’ve taken the right steps so far. If you want to be hyper-careful, write a letter to your bank confirming your verbal report.

Luckily (I guess) I used the my bank’s ATM at around 7:00 AM on this Sunday morning, so I think that it’s unlikely that somebody used the same machine within a few minutes of my departure. I think that you guys are right about the machine retaining the card if it’s been inserted for too long without any further transactions. Doing without my debit card for a few days will be proper penance for doing something so dim-witted.

I hope I lucked out this time. I’ll find out for sure tomorrow.

Our stores’ ATM will suck up a card if left behind, usually in just thirty seconds or so. This happened to me once while I was fiddling with my cash and receipt, and I watched it go in. I got it back the next day. Unless someone was *right * behind you, you’re probably OK.

What sanfroid said. If the card was not pulled out 20-30 seconds the machine eats it. Unless there was someone behind you waiting to use the machine the chances of misuse are likely to be nil.

Ditto. Happened to me last week, I checked my account at the ATM machine outside, then decided to go into the bank to pay my credit card bill. Inside, I realized I left my card behind, ran back and it was gone, nervously told the teller what happened, and 2 minutes later I had my card back. So hopefully things should be okay for you.

Thanks guys! I feel a little bit better now. I’ll let you know how things turn out tomorrow. Like I said, if I have to do without a debit card for a few days it’ll be a well-deserved lesson.

Thanks again!

Even if somebody did find the card in the slot, your transaction was complete so they wouldn’t have been able to re-insert it into the ATM without being prompted for your PIN. They would have been able to remove the card and use it in whatever fraudulent methods are possible if they simply found it or stole it.

Chances are though, that the ATM pulled it back in after a short interval (your bank should be able to tell you whether this was indeed the case).

Here’s the thing, though. I may very well have grabbed the money and left without terminating my ATM session. In essence, I probably was still logged into the machine and left it in a state where somebody could have went ahead and withdrew extra money from my account. Very stupid mistake. Anyhow, I just called the bank a few minutes ago and they’ll get back to me after they check the machine for retained cards.

Well, it turns out that my card was sucked into the ATM for safe-keeping. Stopping the card wasn’t necessary after all, but I still think that I did the safe thing by doing it. Anyhow, I should be getting my new card sometime next week, so all’s well that ends well.

Thanks for your input, guys!

Most ATM sessions will automatically terminate after a minute or so of inactivity. On occasion, I’ve had my session start beeping at me and asking “Do you need more time?” because I was being slow about depositing a cheque.

Actually, on thinking about it, I’ve never come across a machine where this is possible (maybe they are programmed differently over here; if you withdraw money, your card is returned before the money is issued and the machine beeps at you until you take it - if you don’t take the card out, the money isn’t issued and a little while later the card is retained.


At my bank’s ATMs, here’s the sequence that is used during a session:

  1. Insert card and enter PIN.
  2. Choose whether you want a receipt for your transaction.
  3. Perform the desired transaction – withdrawing money in this case. You also choose whether it will be withdrawn from checking or savings.
  4. Receive money.
  5. Choose another transaction or exit the session.
  6. Exit session, receive card and receipt (if chosen in step 2).

Stupid me, I left at the end of step 4. :smack: Oh, well, no harm done --except to my own self-respect, of course.

The ATMs I serviced presented the withdrawn amount requested and returned the card from the reader almost simultaneously. The receipt wasn’t printed for the customer, and the audit print didn’t complete until the card and cash were both taken before time out. If either weren’t taken, the faulted transaction would show up on the audit print. Unaccepted cards went into the faulted card tray, unaccepted cash went into the faulted cash bin.

Hmmm… I’ll have to test this, but I think the machines here work so that withdrawal of cash is your final operation - after the other operations such as checking balance etc, you are prompted as to whether you’d like to do anything else, but after specifying that you want cash (and the amount), you’re not prompted any more; it just says ‘please wait while your cash is counted’, then you get your card and if you remove your card, you get your cash.

If you want to do anything else after withdrawing, you have to reinsert the card.

A friend did this once with me in line right behind him. I got $20 from his account, then turned around and handed him his card and said, “Here’s that $20 I owe you.” :slight_smile: