How to use ATM Card – Tips for Safe Usage

How to use ATM card

The humble ATM card has evolved and has become a multi functional aid that does a lot more than dispensing cash for you. Read tips on how to use ATM Card.

Financial Functions of an ATM Card

The ATM card can be used to withdraw money from your savings account any time of the day from your bank’s ATM. These cards can also be used to transfer money from one account to another provided both the accounts are in the same bank and are linked to the card. Some machines have the facility of depositing cash with the help of using the ATM card.

Use: I have two accounts with the same bank; in the first I receive all my credits the second is linked to my trading account. Often the second account dips in balance so all I need to do is visit the ATM at my convenience and transfer money from account A to B without filling out a deposit slip or a cheque or waiting in a queue.

Non Financial Functions of an ATM Card

They let you perform a host of non financial functions like with the help of your card you could order a cheque book, check your balance, take a printed mini statement or in a few banks you could also use the card to buy other financial products offered by the bank.

Often when making a transaction or query through phone banking the ATM card number along with the PIN number is used for authentication purpose.

How to use ATM Card safely

They are less risky when compared to debit and credit cards as they cannot be used for swiping or for making online purchases yet one must be careful when using them.

When you use ATM card, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Never write the pin number and keep it in the vicinity of the card.
  • Do not reveal your pin number in response to a phone or an email even if it appears to be sent by your bank.
  • Often you might think that if you have the physical card with you, your account cannot be comprised but technology progress has made it easy for people looking to scam you. Cards can easily be cloned by getting a copy of the card and in case they are able to access the pin then things become easy from thereon.
  • In case you lose your card please call the helpline of the bank to immediately block your card. All banks have a dedicated helpline for the same.
  • Do not leave the copy of your transaction slip lying around in the ATM cubicle after use.
  • If you think that you spot anyone lurking near the ATM or any suspicious devices in the ATM cubicle report to the bank.
  • Checking your transactions regularly and being subscribed to mobile banking helps in controlling the damage.
  • ATM cards are different from debit cards; it is essential that you learn to identify how to differentiate between both (debit cards carry Master/Visa logo)
  • Keep in mind that financial limit and use of your card is limited when you compare it to a credit card or a debit card so plan accordingly especially when travelling.
  • My friend was faced with a dilemma on her vacation. She carried two cards on her holiday each with a Rs. 25000 limit which meant that she could effectively had Rs. 100000 at her disposal; Rs. 25000 for withdrawal and 25000 for swiping per card. However when she tried to make her hotel payment one of the cards did not work; the card was an ATM card and not a debit card which meant it could be used only at the specific bank and only for cash withdrawal. Overlooking this aspect had landed her in a soup.
  • This also means that in case you have an ATM from SBI then you cannot use it at an AXIS bank ATM for cash withdrawal.

What Banks Do to Ensure Your Safety?

Now that we know how to use ATM Card, lets understand how banks also help All banks go a long way in ensuring the customer safety. They follow the delivery process laid down by the RBI of never sending the card and PIN together or not even leaving it with the same person in the bank.

Carefully observe the alert message that you get when you make a withdrawal; the message never lists the 16 digit number of the card it blocks out certain digits of the card, this is to minimize the possibility of a misuse in case the message gets into the wrong hands.

Banks send you information about the safety precautions that one must follow when using your card and also advertise the same on its site and in their emails, statements etc. I recently relocated and changed my address for the savings account with ICICI Bank; a week later I wanted to apply for a new card.

I was told I could not do so for a month after I change my address; why so as to ensure that the address change is genuine and the card is not delivered into wrong hands.

If you want to de-block your card you have to go through an elaborate authentication process before your request is processed. Though the credit debit and ATM cards may differ a little in their operation yet all of them add convenience to our lives so it is up to us to use them wisely.

Banks often offer you valuable advise even though sometimes it may appear to be to cautious but its better to be safe then sorry. Use ATM Cards wisely.


About the Author

Nidhi is an ex-banker with a passion for writing and reading. She now combines her banking experience with her love for writing and pens articles for various financial sites.

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