Automatic or Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are computerized machines that are designed to perform functions of a bank teller. You can carry out a range of financial transactions sans any time restraint. An ATM facilitates comfortable and convenient banking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - not necessarily from the premises of your bank. With access to ATMs across cities and countries, you seldom require to carry large amount of cash. You can save time and avoid traveling all the way to the bank premises to withdraw cash, find your account balance and deposit cheques. You can put your ATM card to use for buying as it directly pays from your checking or savings account. Banks too benefit as they save on operation cost by reducing the number of visitors to their premises.
As an ATM cardholder, are you aware of the possible pitfalls of using ATMs? Thefts of ATM cards, misuse of ATM cards or fraudulent card transactions are on the rise across the globe. Banks are struggling to put effective measures in place to control ATM frauds. As a customer, the onus of responsibility to minimize possible hardships lies in your hands too. Read this section and benefit using tips provided for protecting yourself against fraud from ATM usages.
Automated Teller Machines ATM came into use in the late 1960s and have revolutionized the banking industry. What began merely as cash-dispensing machines have now metamorphosed into multi-purpose machines ? from taking deposits and transferring money from accounts to providing cash advances against a credit card and making payments. You can find ATMs at the premises of banks as well as in commercial establishments, residential areas, airports, railway stations and petrol pumps. In order to make banking convenient for customers, banks are vying with each other to provide maximum outlets with ATM facility. Mobile vans with Automatic Teller Machines ATM are parked in specific areas to facilitate easy banking. Many banks have also introduced ATMs for visually challenged people. These ATMs have specially designed function keys that guide the customers to operate the ATMs.
ATM plastic card
ATM cards enable you to carry financial transactions from your savings, current account or credit card accounts. To access an ATM, you need to insert your plastic card into the Automatic teller machine. The machine reads the magnetic strip at the back of the ATM card, which contains cardholder account details. To confirm access by genuine cardholder, you will be requested to key in a personal identification number (PIN). This number (usually four-digit) is a system-generated number that will be provided at the time of opening the account. You can opt to change the PIN number by requesting for a change either by contacting the bank or by using the ATM machine. Once the right PIN number is typed, the ATM recognizes the cardholder details and account details.
Other details that you may find embossed on ATM cards are:
In the front:
- Name of issuing financial institution/Bank
- Card number
- Period of validity
- Name of card holder
- Specific logos
On the back:
- Magnetic strip
- Space for cardholder's authorized signature
- Card issuer contact details
- Terms and conditions of usage
Functions of ATMs
Automated teller machines ATMs are not merely restricted to withdrawal of cash. You can perform a wide range of activities :
- Cash withdrawal and deposit
- Cheque deposit
- Money transfer
- Balance enquiry
- Statement request
- Cheque book request
- PIN request
Preventing ATM Fraud
Bank ATM cards are used to withdraw money, find balance in account and transfer moeny. Credit cards are also used at ATMs to avail cash advance facility or to make payments towards credit card transactions. These plastic cards provide access to ATMs, connect to your account (Savings, Current or Credit card account) and facilitate carrying out desired financial transactions. Generally individuals are exposed to ATM frauds when the card is lost, the ATM card is handed over to someone else or when the confidentiality of PIN is not adhered to.
Easy tips to protect from possible ATM frauds:
1) Keep ATM card in your possession: Do not leave your ATM card unattended. Ensure that it is stored in a secured manner. Identity theft is the most alarming crime that is associated with ATM card thefts and frauds.
2) Maintain PIN Confidentiality: Do not write your PIN number on the ATM card or store it in your wallet. You can select a number that can be easily remembered or memorize the number given by the bank. Do not reveal this number to any unauthorized persons. Avoid selecting your date of birth, street address or social security number, as these are the immediate choice by frauds.
3) Retain Transaction slips: Do not throw away the transaction slips right at the ATM site. Store them for future reconciliation of account.
4) Destroy unwanted slips: At times an incorrect deposit slip is mistakenly left aside by ATM customers. Remember to destroy any slip that provides details about your account.
5) Never trust strangers: In the event of any technical problems at the ATM or if you require clarification, make use of kiosks or free dial-up facilities that are provided at the ATM location. Never talk to strangers; you may end up sharing your account information. Never part with PIN information on the phone till you verify the company who is calling you.
6) Don't rush: Avoid using ATMs when you are hard pressed for time. Follow instructions in an orderly manner. The card can get struck and hamper further access.
7) Maintain distance: Make sure that the person standing behind you cannot read your transactions while operating the ATM. Some thieves resort to this 'shoulder surfing' to retrieve sensitive ATM card information.
8) Retrieve card: After completing your transactions wait for the ATM to push out your card. Never leave the ATM location without your card.
9) Destroy old cards: Make sure to destroy old cards (expired or misplaced cards) and remember to use replaced cards with the new PIN. On receipt of new cards, do attest your signature on the backside.
10) Report to bank: If your card is misplaced, do report immediately to the bank and request for a replacement. You can call up the 24-hour service or toll-free numbers and deal with the emergency at once.
The sooner you report the loss of ATM card, the lesser is your liability. In case of finding the misplaced card, do not use it. Remember to destroy it and use only the new replaced card. Check your billing statements carefully after your ATM card loss for questionable charges and transactions. Also, if you do not receive a fresh card within the time specified by the bank, bring it to the notice of the bank.