Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

THESSALONIKI GREECEJUN 27 2015: People stand in a queue to use the ATMs of a bank. Person receiving money from the ATM.

ATM–“Access to Money”

Okay, so ATM really stands for “automatic teller machine,” not “access to money”–but it’s practically the same thing.

Unfortunately, the only way to access money is if you actually have a bank account with money in it. But if you do, you can get money out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year (366 in a leap year). It’s as if the Wizard of Oz just granted your wish.

Then again, the Wizard wasn’t all that reliable when it came to granting wishes, so don’t think for a minute that an ATM is infallible either. Here’s what to do if your ATM withdrawal comes up short:

  • If you never save receipts, do so now. It may be your only chance of proving you were trying to make a transaction at that ATM at the date and time you claim.
  • If the bank is open, file a complaint in person right away–even if you’re at the 7-11 and have to drive five miles to get to your bank.
  • Make copies of any receipts you received from the ATM transaction–keep the originals and submit the copies to the bank.
  • If the problem happened at a bank ATM where you don’t have an account, ask your bank to let you see the documentation the other bank is required to submit regarding the transaction. Or you can call the phone number on the ATM which will connect you with the ATM owner.
  • If you’re a longtime customer, don’t be afraid to make a big stink about it if you’re not getting quick results–most banks would rather see you happy than lose your business.
  • If your complaints fall on deaf ears, submit copies of the ATM transaction along with a letter of explanation to both your local consumer affairs office and the state attorney general.