I Believe Sheldon Was Right, The ATMs Are Starting To Rise Up

“I don’t trust banks. I believe that when the robots rise up, ATMs will lead the charge.”
~ Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory

• • •

HEY! DID YOU KNOW… that an ATM can take your card away from you? A legitimate card that you’ve had for a while? A card that attaches to an account that has your money in it?

Well, it can. And one did.

Here’s what happened: I drove to our local bank branch, got into the stay-in-your-car ATM lane, got to the machine, put my bright red ATM card into the machine– and WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM the machine ate my card.

Just. Like. That.

The message on the ATM screen said that my card had been confiscated for security reasons and that I needed to contact my financial institution for further assistance.

Considering that I was at my financial institution I found this message ludicrous.

Annoying.

Off-putting, even.

• • •

• • •

SO I SWORE AT… the ATM, as one does, then I drove around to the front of the bank, found a parking spot, got out of my car, wandered into the bank branch, waited in line– and finally got to a teller.

This teller, a pleasant woman, told me that the bank doesn’t want its customers to use our old bright red ATM cards, so the bank is confiscating them when you try to use one. Thereafter, I was quickly issued a new light blue ATM card that the bank wants me to use.

Uh huh.

And it worked when I used it so… *yay* I guess.

• • •

• • •

BUT HERE’S THE THING… what if I’d been on vacation when this happened?  Or at the airport stuck waiting for a flight? Or I needed the cash immediately for some reason*?

What would have happened then?

The reality is that I would have been in dire straits through no doing of my own– all because the bank, who has my money, doesn’t like the ATM card it issued to me.

So instead of just sending me a new card, the bank decided that it’d be better to risk my safety and experience my ire, than waste the money on an envelope and postage to send me a new light blue ATM card.

That gets me to my money.

All of which has me thinking that Sheldon might be onto something, ‘ya know?

• • •

* Actual real-life examples of when I needed cash now:

  1. in the hospital emergency waiting room late at night by myself, hungry, in need of cash to use in the vending machine
  2. in a foreign country too tired to use public transit back to hotel, in need of cash to use to take a taxi
  3. at a local art show, having found a beautiful piece of art, in need of cash to buy it from the person who made it

Images courtesy of Library of Congress: |1| |2|

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

59 thoughts on “I Believe Sheldon Was Right, The ATMs Are Starting To Rise Up”

    1. BTW: I’m not defending the bank’s decision.

      The only ATM cards that should be eaten are those reported “stolen.” Other than that, a nice message should appear on the screen asking you to “step inside” to get a shiny NEW card. Then the ATM should spit out your card and YOUR $’s.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. nancy, I wonder if you’re right about where the ATM cards are confiscated? That, at least, would make some sense. I was inconvenience by this experience, but not upset by it. I like your idea of how the ATM card exchange process should go. That would have been nicer.

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  1. I”m surprised the bank didn’t just issue new cards in the mail. That would have been the logical and customer-friendly thing to do. Oh, wait. That’s it – customer friendly. When was the last time a bank did something that was customer-friendly?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A few years back I was part of the Target hack. My bank immediately (almost) sent me a notice saying I would get a new card and I received it within days. No machine sucked it up to leave me penniless on the street. Even if they only confiscate at a bank location ATM suppose you were on your way to catch a flight and didn’t have time to go inside? I wonder what brainiac thought of that one?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Kate, sending me my new ATM card would have been the polite thing to do, of course. I wasn’t happy about this, however I was on a relaxed schedule that day so I had the extra time to fuss around at the bank. BUT when I told Z-D what’d happened he said the same thing you did: what if he’d been on his way to the airport for a flight? I can’t even…

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Exactly – it costs money to mail out cards. Plus, with the customer at the counter, there’s a chance to sell other products. Though I don’t imagine that if I had been shanghaied like this, I’d be in much of a receptive mood.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maggie, fortunately the teller didn’t try to sell me anything, and got me my new card quickly and efficiently. Usually I’m curious about “why” things happen, but in this case I didn’t want to hear it, so I was like a bat out of hell leaving the bank branch. Whatever.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Happened to me years ago too! And just like you, I was right outside the bank. I forget exactly what their reasoning was, but I got the new card right then and there. I was as puzzled as you Ally, wondering all the what-if’s that could have happened. Makes no sense to me at all…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I’d never heard of this happening before, and while I got my new card without incident, I couldn’t help but think of how wrong this could have turned out. Makes no sense, I agree.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’d think that they would at least send you a warning letter that this would be happening in a few months or so. I hope that the teller apologized to you profusely, on behalf of the bank!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Donna, I think a warning letter or email would have been appropriate. Or if after I got my cash at the ATM there could have been an option on the ATM screen where I could have asked for my new card to be mailed to me. But nope, there was just an urgent message for me to go inside the bank toot sweet.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Bothersome.
    My card was compromised once, years ago, and the bank called to confirm I had not been in Montreal and to tell me they’d be sending me a new card in the mail. I appreciated that. UNFORTUNATELY, our bank is online only unless one lives in San Antonio, which we did not. I had no access to money for days, and The Mister was in Iraq, so I couldn’t ask him to get me some cash. I charged the tiniest amounts, even paid for a stranger’s lunch because my lunch wasn’t enough to authorize the restaurant to use a credit card. I remember having to ask my neighbor to lend me a twenty for Bubba and Sissy’s field day shirts.
    Worse, someone told me to go to some Army office, see if they’d let me write a check for cash and the nice man there wanted to help me learn to budget!!! *rolls eyes*
    After I got my new card, I kept substantial cash on hand every time my husband left. To this day, I hate to be cashless. It makes me uneasy. I totally relate to your what-ifs. The ATMs in which one must surrender the card entirely? Not to be trusted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, that’s a heck of a story. It’s nice to know that the bank discovered your account was compromised, but to have to wait that long for your new ATM card to arrive would be stressful [to say the least]. I do like that you got to buy someone else lunch so you could use your credit card. No doubt that’s an act of paying it forward, even if it was under duress.

      From this experience I, too, have learned that we need to keep more cash on hand. And upon learning what happened to me, Z-D went over to the bank branch and voluntarily handed-in his bright red ATM card. They issued him a new light blue one on the spot, so we’re both good to go now.

      But mailing the ATM cards to us would have been a better way to handle this change. Are you listening, Big Bad Old Bank?

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Carol, wise words. As I recall, pre-ATM we went to the bank every week on the same day of the week so that my parents could get some cash for the upcoming week. Also, no credit cards back then, so planning was a bigger deal.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I kind of miss the old days before the ‘card’. In fact, until maybe 2010, I didn’t have a card…we had some CREDIT cards which got me & hubby into a lot of trouble and afterward I viewed the card with a very jaundiced eye. After hubby died I had no money and having a card was moot…my cards are debit cards. No money in the bank, no money on the card. And I like that. But I find using that card makes it easier for me to buy things I don’t really need and to put off paying bills until they’re threatening to come repossess the dog. Before the cards, one wrote out checks (remember those..I still use them too and get some really odd looks for doing it) or money orders and you knew the bill was paid. You tightened your belt a little, and saved up those ‘worthless’ pennies to get the treat you were promising yourself…in clothing, entertainment or just eating out. As I said I kind of miss those days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Embeecee, I remember back when you had to make sure you had enough cash to get through the weekend because the banks were closed. My family had an ATM card but it was only for EMERGENCIES, so Fridays were the day to get your cash.

      I haven’t written a check in ages, but we still do from time-to-time. I remember how important it used to be to have the “perfect” checks that showed the world who you were, then have the “perfect” checkbook cover. As if any of that mattered then– and certainly doesn’t now. 🙄

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      1. I put myself through college by working as a teller, and yes, I do remember helping people pick out checks and checkbook covers! It was a huge deal, deciding upon checks that portrayed You/Your Personality. And it was fun! There were dozens of options, and I remember so many men coming in and complaining about how feminine their checks were because their wives had picked them out. And how the women complained because the men just got the basic blue safety paper, and it was ugly and boring. It mattered a lot to lots of people back in the 70s and 80s when checks were more of a standard method of payment. Now…not so much.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. nance, back in the day checks meant so much more than they do now. I remember how excited I was to have a monogram on our checks because I thought that was classy. Like we were all grown-up or something.

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  6. Does the name of your bank start with a B? It sounds like something that stupid bank would do. How frustrating. Too many scenarios where that could have been a disaster. I’ll bet the tellers don’t like it much either as I’m sure not all customers were as patient as you. I just read where our bank will be shutting down some of its branches because more and more people use online and ATM only. Let’s all go back to using checks just to spite them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet, different bank than yours, but that doesn’t mean that your bank won’t try the same stuff as this one. I like your idea of using checks to annoy the bank, but I imagine that I’d get more annoyed writing the checks than the bank would be receiving them. Still… 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie, I was surprised by the whole thing. I was on my way to a meeting, but I knew that the people there would overlook me being late. However, that doesn’t excuse the bank’s lame way of handling this situation of their own making. You want me to use a new ATM card, then send me a new ATM card. *duh*

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I once had the bank cancel my debit card…while I was on the other side of the country with several day of vacation ahead of me. Thankfully, I still had my credit card, which I became an absolute pro at using everywhere possible, because I only had about $40 cash on me. I managed to get home with about $2 left. In related news, I was not very happy with my bank when I got home.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sarah, I’d freak out without my ATM card while on vacation. I’d not stick it out like you did, but immediately start to plan to get home. I’m inspired by how you used your credit card, like Winona Ryder’s character who used her Dad’s gas card to get cash in a movie I can’t remember the name of.

        I can be common sensical so I shall henceforth remember to have some cash around me at. all. times. In this particular situation, the bank didn’t exactly tick me off, as much as get me irritated. Should they ever do this again, there will be words. Loudly said, clearly stated.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. And now they’re pushing for a cashless society. Uh, really? Paper isn’t hackable, but you can wave your iWand my way with a scanner and in a couple of keystrokes laugh over my deplorable state of financial being…and then steal it for the hell of it. Yeah, I like my checks, and I like my cash, and I’m not freaking giving them up.

    And now I wonder, if my card was ever taken from me and sucked up in the machine, never to be given back, would it be for a legit reason or because some a-hole tampered with it and when the coast is clear, they’ll go back to the machine, find a way in, and take all those confiscated cards to go on a spending spree? I worry about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. TheChattyIntrovert, I hear ‘ya about this cashless society. It’s nonsense to think that we all will just trust the banks to keep track of everything, so we won’t need to have anything real on-hand. I like cash, too. Very useful when you can get to yours.

      I wondered about all those confiscated ATM cards, too. I mean, I’d put my super secret password into the ATM before it took my card away from me. So the card and the info were there at the bank branch, just lingering inside the ATM. So far nothing wrong has shown up on our account, but I’m keeping an eye on this.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My bank has reissued me a new debit card twice in just 8 years…. once in the aftermath of one of our large local grocery store chains having its database hacked, and again shortly after that when they put that stupid chip reader in the card. Both times the new cards came in the mail and the old cards worked until we got the new ones. If you bank hadn’t communicated in some way prior to having your card eaten that they were planning on issuing new cards to everyone, then they really failed at their job in my opinion…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. evilsquirrel13, we’ve had re-issued credit cards come in the mail, but it’s been a long time since we got a new debit card. So I’m not surprised that the bank was ready for us to have a new one. However, they handled this change poorly without any thought to how it’d affect the customer [ME] when the moment of change happened. Stupid bank.

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  10. How frustrating! And ridiculous, for the reasons you gave, and more. If I were in a hurry, or not dressed decently (figuring I was just rushing to the ATM, so who cares?), I’d really be annoyed. For some people, it would also be frightening and worrisome.

    Just overall, a lousy idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nance, it was a lousy idea for a plethora of reasons. It’s funny how the bank knows how to send me information for services I don’t want, but couldn’t find a way to get my new ATM card to me. Go figure. [pun intended]

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  11. That is incredibly vexing! So far, my bank – the last time it did this – sends out an email telling me that soon it will be sending me a new card. I think i got a redundant snail mail letter, too. Then, eventually, a new card arrived. Perhaps the silly thing was set up to only get eaten at the bank ATM?

    My friend Albert was visiting from Australia when he apparently left his card in the atm at the bank. The machine is set up to suck left cards into it ninth level of hell and eat them. Better, I suppose, than letting someone steal them but the hoops he had to jump through to get a new card issued from half-way around the world away were phenomenal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zazzy, I cannot imagine who thought that taking your ATM card without warning was a good idea, but here we have it. Zen-Den went over to the bank the following Saturday and asked for a new card to be issued to him on the spot. They did so without comment, but if this hadn’t happened to me he could easily have been out of town when the machine took his card.

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  12. That’s a real crappy way to treat a customer, letting them know when they try to use their card that they won’t let you use that one and locking it up inside the machine. Especially when they lead you to believe that they consider YOU a security issue. And what kind of cheapskate institution makes you go into the bank to get the new card that they like better? It’s not as though they need to save the money to pay interest or anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, I found the whole experience strange. I’m a customer in good standing, but not good enough to get my new ATM card mailed to me. Perhaps they just wanted to see my snarling face in the bank branch lobby, so that they could confirm that I’m still alive. I dunno. Just another stupid thing…

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  13. It’s happened to me, but only when my the magnetized strip on the card was scratched. I was terrified of it happening abroad though, so I carried two cards, just in case.

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    1. Margaret, I’d never heard of this happening before but since I wrote this post I’m finding out that it has & can happen without warning. Stupid banks, always finding a way to inconvenience customers. I love your idea of two ATM cards… just in case. Smart thinking.

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  14. Susan, years ago I got into an extended argument with our local bank branch manager when she proved herself to be incompetent. In that situation the bank took her side, and showed me exactly how little I mean to them. So I knew that trying to reason with anyone in this bank branch would be futile. I got my new card, I got my cash, I got a good blog story out of it… *whatever* 😒

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      1. You would’ve been justified in complaining to a manager. That definitely could’ve been handled better. You were lucky it worked out okay for you. Someone else might not have been so lucky.

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        1. That’s the thing. I was on my way to a meeting during the day. It didn’t matter if I was a little late, nor was I in any danger. But not everyone might be so fortunate when the ATM eats your card.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, first, I’m a little surprised that you have any money left after your remodel… (don’t tell your contractor!). Second, what the heck was the bank thinking? I used to be Marketing V.P. for a credit union and we would bend over backwards not to make those types of stupid decisions that would negatively impact our members.

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    1. Janis, I, too, am amazed that there’s any money left after this remodel, BUT what little there is left I’d like to get to without incident. And this ridiculous ATM experience didn’t make me that happen, now did it? I cannot explain why this bank chose this way of distributing new cards, but there are better ways. Many better ways.

      Liked by 1 person

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