ATM Didn’t Dispense Cash? Account Debited? Do This.

By Steffi Dsouza | June 9, 2018

Here’s what you can do if your ATM didn’t dispense cash but your account got debited. Read on to know more.

ATM Didn’t Dispense Cash? Account Debited? Do This.

Did you hear Vandana’s story which shed a light on the rule that ATM cards are non-transferable? Vandana, a resident of Marathahalli in Bangalore, had given her SBI Debit Card to her husband to withdraw money as she was carrying a child. The SBI ATM just delivered a slip showing that money has been debited.

The couple raised a complaint with SBI regarding the issue. But SBI rejected the money claim citing the ‘non-transferable’ rule as the ATM user was not the account holder. As a last resort, the couple approached the consumer court. However, the court too dismissed the case. They stated that Vandana should have given a self-cheque or an authorisation letter to her husband, permitting him to withdraw money from her account.

Vandana learnt it the hard way. But her story is a lesson to us all. ATM cards are non-transferable. So, in case you’re allowing someone – whether a family member or a friend – to withdraw money using your ATM/Debit Card/bank account, you must provide a self-cheque or an authorisation letter permitting him/her to do so. Got it?

Now let’s discuss other scenarios that are possible while you’re at the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) trying to withdraw money.

Additional Reading: ATM Usage And You

Scenario 1

You get to the ATM, insert your Debit Card with the PIN number and withdraw cash successfully.

Great! Your work is done.

Scenario 2

You get to the ATM, insert your Debit Card with the PIN number and your transaction gets declined. So, you don’t get any money.

You can try again after some time or at another ATM. (Perhaps your account has insufficient funds!)

Scenario 3

You get to the ATM, insert your Debit Card with the PIN number and your transaction gets declined. But, you immediately get a notification through SMS that your account is debited.

What can you do?

Let’s first explain to you why this could happen before we tell you what to do. The ATM could genuinely be faulty and may not register the transaction details correctly. In some cases, the ATM could be out of cash, and in some other cases, this could be a case of fraud. Yes! You heard that right.

These days it’s very easy to affix a skimming machine to an ATM. A skimmer looks exactly like the card reader at the ATM except it isn’t the bank’s reader. It is camouflaged to look like the genuine card reader and it’s easy to fall prey to such a gimmick.  This fake reader skims/reads your card and stores its details only to be used later by the fraudsters. Hence, it’s important that you always check the slot machine before you dip your card.

Now, coming back to what you should do when the ATM declines your transaction and debits your account. First things first, don’t panic. There is hope and if you follow these steps you can get your money back. If this isn’t a case of fraud and if it’s because the ATM is faulty, the bank’s system will recognise the error and you will get an immediate credit to your account and a notification via a text message. But if you still haven’t received this SMS, you can take these steps to ensure you get a debit reversal to your account.

Before you follow through with any of these steps, it’s important that you keep the transaction slip safe with you since it will have the transaction reference number that you will have to quote when you start following up with the bank.

  1. Customer Care: Since most banks these days have a phone-banking facility, you can call up your bank’s customer care number, which is usually written at the back of your Debit Card. Once you confirm your identity to them via entering your T-Pin number and confirming other details, you can inform the executive about the incident quoting your transaction slip and the reference number. Usually, the executive will give you a tracking number, raise a ticket and investigate the matter. Upon verification, if this was genuinely an error from the bank’s side, they will refund your money to your account within 7 working days. So, sit tight.
  2. Visit the Branch: If your problem still hasn’t been solved or if you weren’t able to get in touch with your bank through phone-banking, you can visit your bank’s nearest branch to raise this issue. The helpdesk at your bank will take down your complaint and direct it to the right individuals/teams who will look into the matter and reverse the transaction for the incorrect debit.
  3. Escalate: If you’re not satisfied with the first two steps or if you haven’t yet received your money that was wrongly debited, you will have to take this to the next level. This means that you need to escalate it to the branch manager of the bank where you hold the account. A person of authority can make things move quickly. Every bank also has a grievance cell that looks into matters with utmost priority. If you get on to your bank’s website you will be able to find a section wherein you can post your complaint. The grievance cell will look into these issues.
  4. Ombudsman: If the amount has not yet been reimbursed despite your follow-ups and through other steps, you can reach out to the Reserve Bank of India or to the banking Ombudsman directly. Complaints can be sent in writing or online through the RBI website. However, please do note that you can get in touch with the banking ombudsman only 30 days after you’ve sent in your written complaint to the bank.
  5. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: The NCDRC is a quasi-judicial commission in India which was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. If your issue still hasn’t been resolved, then you sure have a fair chance of getting it sorted after you’ve reached out to the NCDRC.
  6. Legal: In most cases you will not require to go beyond point number 4. But in a worst-case scenario, you can always seek legal counsel to get this problem addressed.

More often than not, if your transaction at the ATM didn’t go through and you were wrongly charged it is because the ATM is faulty. And in most cases, the banks are rather proactive and will help you get your money back. Undoubtedly, it will need some effort from your end and the steps above will definitely help you through the chase.

If you’re tired of standing in the queue at the ATM and prefer going cashless, you may want to look at the vast range of Credit Cards we have on offer.

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