The Disadvantages of Using an ATM Card

The Disadvantages of Using an ATM Card
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An ATM card connects directly with your bank account to give you access to your account through an automated teller machine. With the card, you can make deposits or withdrawals wherever you find an ATM -- at the bank, the mall or a grocery store. Learn specific disadvantages of using ATM services with your bank account to protect yourself from the downside of this convenience.

Spending Discipline

With an ATM card, you have access to the funds in your account from many different convenient locations. Without an ATM card, you have the limitation of planning your expenditures by withdrawing money from your savings or checking account during banking hours and visiting the bank in person to make a withdrawal. With an ATM card, your only limitation is finding an ATM whenever you want to withdraw money. This convenience can lead to a faster rate of spending.

Security and Safety

Criminals target ATMs, so using an ATM could place you at risk for robbery after withdrawing money from the machine. Always choose an ATM in a well-lit and populated area to increase your safety during and after the transaction. If you lose your ATM card to theft and the thief has access to your account PIN, you may lose your account balance. Never write your PIN on anything that you carry with you because a thief could find both your ATM and the PIN to gain access to your account, warns the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. If you do not report your ATM card missing or stolen quickly, your bank may not recognize any unauthorized activity as unauthorized, and you may not be able to recover a loss, warns the website.

PIN Recollection

To use your ATM securely, you need to memorize your PIN. If you forget your PIN, you will not be able to use an ATM to make a withdrawal or a deposit into your account. If you cannot recollect your PIN, the bank will not be able to retrieve it for you. In this situation, it’s likely that your bank will cancel the current ATM card and issue a new card. This process takes time, and the bank may charge a fee for the new ATM card.

Fees Can Break You

Many banks have a fee structure in place for customers who use the convenience of ATMs. Typically, if you use ATMs inside your bank’s network, you do not incur a fee, but if you use other ATMs outside your bank’s network, you encounter flat fees or fees based on a percentage of the transaction. In some cases, your bank may limit the number of transactions you can make within a month; if you exceed the limit, you incur fees.