Financial Education

What Happens If You Forget Your Debit Card In An ATM?


debit card tips, forgetting your debit card, debit card advice

Discovering you left your debit card in an ATM is a frightening experience. Such a scenario would likely create images of someone withdrawing cash from your account, or using it for a shopping spree. ATMs can be found just about everywhere, many times putting you in a situation where the task at hand of getting cash is just one thing on your mind. Because of this, it’s important to know what happens if you forget your debit card in an ATM, and what to do if you left your debit card in an ATM.

Types of ATMs

There are two major types of ATMs

  • Slide Reader ATM: Users of this style ATM slides their debit card’s magnetic strip through the reader, or inserts the card and then pulls it back out to be read. It’s difficult (impossible) to leave your card in these machines as you’ll have it in your hand once the action to have the card reader is complete.
  • Traditional Style: This type of ATM pulls your card into the machine for the duration of your transaction(s). Once you have finished, the card is returned and the ATM beeps, signaling the user to take the card.

What Happens To A Captured Debit Card?

If you used a traditional style ATM and you forget to grab your card, it will be sucked back into the machine in a programmed amount of time (usually 30 seconds). It will stay in the machine until the next service cycle, at which time the operator will likely shred it.

Actions If You Left Your Debit Card In An ATM

Leaving your debit card in an ATM should be handled much like a lost debit card:

  • Check Your Account: Inspect your transaction history to see if any unauthorized transactions have occurred. If there are, someone may have taken your card before it was captured by the machine. You will want to report these transactions to your bank.
  • Call The Number On the ATM: As mentioned, most likely your debit card will be shredded, and you will be unable to get it back. But it might be worth calling the number to find out if there is an off chance you can get it back.
  • Cancel Your Card: Call your bank to cancel your current debit card and to order a new one. If any unauthorized transactions have occurred, report them to your bank.
  • Update Automated Payments: If you have any automated payments set up using your debit card, you’ll need to change them to your new debit card, or another account entirely until your new debit card arrives.

ATMs are a fixture in our lives, providing us cash with convenience. Occasionally you may have a momentary lapse of consciousness and leave your debit card in an ATM. Knowing what happens to your debit card left in an ATM and what to do will help you recover from the failure quickly.

How about you, Clever Friends, have you ever left a debit card in an ATM?

About the author

Brock Kernin


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