What to do when your debit card gets stuck in an ATM machine

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We live in a digital era where everything around us is digitised, including our transactions. Whether it is shopping, travelling or dining out, we can pay for all these services using an online medium. The need for physical money is gradually decreasing but at the same time, one cannot deny the fact that having cash can be a saviour at places where digital transactions are yet to be accepted.

When talking about cash, the first thing that comes on anyone’s mind is an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). These machines dispense money while also offering other banking-related services like deposits, fund transfers, accessing account information, etc. All these facilities can be availed by inserting an ATM card that is issued by a bank to its account holders.

ATMs are of two kinds – one that lets you swipe the ATM card in the slot available on the machine and the other that will require you to insert the card in the slot. In the first kind, the user can take out the card after swiping and carry out the transaction. In the latter kind, the card will be swallowed by the machine and after your transaction is complete, the machine will eject the card. While there are no risks involved in the former, in the second kind of ATMs, there might be chances of the ATM card getting stuck in the machine.

Be Careful while using your Debit Cards at ATM
Image Credit: BankBazaar

Why do cards get stuck in the ATM?

This can happen due to a variety of reasons, some of them being:  connection errors, delay while feeding details into the machine, power fluctuations, network connection fluctuations, customer entering wrong information, or technical issues. Sometimes the machine may also swallow the card when it detects an unusual activity on the card or when it suspects a fraudulent activity. Till a few years back, ATM machines used to swallow any card that was blocked but these days most machines display an ‘invalid card’ message instead and cancel the transaction. The same applies when an incorrect pin is inputted by the user more than three times.

What should you do when your card gets stuck in the ATM?

The first and foremost thing that you should do when your card gets stuck in the ATM is to cancel the transaction and immediately get in touch with your bank. Irrespective of whether a card is swallowed by another bank’s ATM or own-bank ATM, the vendor or the machine loader returns the card to the bank who operates the machine. In case the card holder has used his/her own-bank ATM, the bank can retrieve the card and get it delivered to him/her but if he/she has used other-bank ATM, then the card will be blocked and the user will be issued a new card.

If you are looking for new credit cards, debit card or any financial support then it is always better to compare financial product online before you make your finale decision

When you contact the bank, you will need to furnish details such as time, place where your card got stuck, name of the bank, etc. after which the bank will give you the choice of either getting the card blocked or retrieved. It is always recommended that you get the card blocked to avoid any misuse or fraud. You can then request for a new card and PIN (Personal Identification Number) which will be sent to you within 7 to 10 days.

How can you manage without a debit card in the meantime?

Without a debit card in hand, it will surely be an inconvenience to transact but the good news is, there are ways to overcome the crisis. You can request your bank to provide you with a replacement card for which you will need to provide an identification proof. Most of the banks will provide you with a replacement card.

Another way is to fill out a cheque and get it cashed from the bank. If you do not have a cheque book, you can just walk in to the nearest branch of your bank, fill up a withdrawal form, and submit it to withdraw cash from your account.

One more way to withdraw money when you need it urgently is to use netbanking to transfer your money to another account that you may hold and withdraw money using the debit card of that account. However, if you do not have any other account, you can transfer your money to a friend’s account and ask them to use their card to withdraw cash for you.


Debit cards getting stuck in ATMs are quite common and hence, there is no need to worry. All you need to do when this happens is to inform your bank immediately. Also, now that you know how to manage your need for cash while waiting for your new debit card to arrive, you can go ahead and carry out all your transactions peacefully.