While automated teller machines (ATMs) are convenient, sometimes problems arise when trying to make a cash withdrawal. Understanding the reasons you may be denied access to your money may save you a headache or a panic attack.
Out of Money
Despite your best effort to balance your account, if a transaction is pending or a deposit hasn't posted to your account as expected, you may find your request to withdraw funds from your account denied. If you are certain there are no errors on your part, speak to a teller at your bank to make sure that something else isn't going on with your account. It is also possible that it is the ATM that is actually out of money. Sometimes the machine will say this is the problem, and sometimes it will just deny your transaction, leaving you to wonder why you are unable to withdraw your money.
Exceeding Your Daily Limit
Your daily POS (point of sale) limit is an amount set by your bank which determines how much money you can debit from your account on any given day. Most banks will allow you to raise this limit if you request it. This is a safeguard to protect your account in the event that your card is lost or stolen. Remember that debit charges may count against this limit, so if you used the card several times to purchase items and chose to debit your account – as opposed to choosing credit – and then tried to withdraw a few hundred dollars from an ATM, your request may be denied.
International Travel or Purchases
Your bank may only allow you to use your card in another state or country once or twice before they deactivate the card if you did not notify them of your travels in advance. This is a measure to protect you, but can be quite troublesome if you are on the road and find yourself unable to access your money. If you travel often, or have plans for a vacation, you should notify your bank and they can usually immediately remove these restrictions.
Damaged Cards or PINs
If no other reason applies, an ATM denial could just be the result of a damaged magnetic strip or an error with the connection between the card and your account because of the personal identification number, or PIN. You will need to contact your bank and let them test or reset your PIN or order a new card for you.
Christa Haynes began freelance writing in 2005 by conributing features to "New Mexico Woman Magazine" on a variety of topics relating to women's issues in the workplace. As a professional in the financial services industry for more than 10 years, Haynes obtained a Life Underwriting Training Council Fellowship and is a recipient of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Services Quality Award.