Using ATM and debit cards at an ATM

Click on each step to learn the basics.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

Key Points

1. Request an ATM card/debit card.

When you open a checking account, your bank will probably offer you the opportunity to apply for at ATM card and/or a debit card.

If your ATM card is ever lost or stolen, contact your bank immediately.

2. Create a PIN.

To use your card at the ATM, you must enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN), a secret combination of numbers or letters that you create. Your PIN is like a secret password. If someone else has it, they can take money out of your account – so don’t share it with anyone! If you do give it out, you may be held responsible for any money you lose. So to keep your money safe, keep your PIN a secret!

3. Stay alert and aware.

Because most ATMs give out cash and many accept deposits, it makes sense to be alert and aware of your surroundings no matter where or when you use an ATM. For a complete list of ATM safety tips, click on Library.

4. Follow onscreen directions.

Not all ATMs work exactly the same way, but they’re all designed to be easy to use. Just follow the directions on the ATM screen that you’re using.

5. Be aware of fees.

Your ATM card will work in machines operated by your own bank. It may also work in ATMs operated by other financial institutions. This flexibility is great, but be careful about fees you may be charged by both your bank and the ATM owner.

6. Know your available balance.

Be sure you have enough money to cover your withdrawals and checks. Remember that whenever you make a withdrawal with your ATM or debit card, the money will be withdrawn from your checking account. When you write a check it may take several days for the funds to be withdrawn from your account or it may be processed that day. Also remember that when you deposit a check, the funds may be available for your use the next business day or longer depending on the bank's funds availability policy.

7. Record your transactions.

Make a habit of writing your ATM transactions and the purchases you’ve made with your ATM card or debit card in your register right away so that you don’t forget. On a monthly basis, compare the amounts on your receipts to those on your bank statement to insure that they match.

Both ATM and debit cards are safe, convenient ways to get cash, make deposits, transfer funds, and make purchases. Click the Next button to learn about the difference.
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