Thursday, May 3, 2012

ATMs go through the motions, but money doesn’t come

Yesterday morning I left home planning to buy some odds and ends and then have lunch at my Club. I didn’t have much money on hand but that was no problem because I was carrying the ATM card – insert it in the dispenser and presto, you get money.

Well, it didn’t work out that way on May 2, 2012 at Cochin.

The first ATM I went to was closed. That was no bother because there are so many such outlets in the area. I went to the next one. It was a new machine I was not used to. But everything worked perfectly except for one snag – no money or printed receipt came out but there was a message thanking me for using the facility. I tried again and the result was the same.

The que behind me was getting restless. I quickly got out and went to another ATM. All the procedures were right at that one too, but still there was no money in spite of a repeat operation. I met the manager of the bank and he was kind enough to send a staff member with me presumably to show me how to operate an ATM. That didn’t work either – I mean that the money was not dispensed.

Now I was stuck with a major worry. All the five times that my card was used the Teller Machine had displayed the appropriate procedures. Did it mean that every time I tried and got the ‘Thank you’ message the amount entered was being debited in my account? The bank staff that was sent to help me had no answer. The crowd that had gathered by then – ATM users and others – had different views.

I rushed to my bank and met the Manager. In a minute he confirmed that no money had been drawn on my card that morning and that the balance in my account was safe. According to him the problem might have been caused by some Network malfunctioning. Can’t they have a foolproof system?

I find two morals to this incident: (1) May be, one rupee in hand is worth two in the ATM, and, (2) Money at ATM is better than lunch at the Club.

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Kariyachan said...

Hi At Sir;

ATM's are programmed in such a way, in the event of a malfunction the account will be reversed back to the previous stage, either immediately or at a later stage.

The software keeps track of the available rupee bills in the cassette, and the amount dispensed; so in the event of bills not being dispensed properly, there are measures to tally the actual remaining bills vs the actual dispensed - between each transaction - and each replenishment.

Soman Pillai said...

The same thing happened with me but here the money was deducted from the account. I could not draw money from other ATM s also due to this reason I was trapped in a difficult situation. This happened some six months back at state bank's ATM Poochakkal

Abraham Tharakan said...

Hello Kariyachan, I am ignorant of technicalities. Thanks for explaining.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Thanks for the comment, Mr. Soman Pillai.