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Be aware of what happens when you leave your card in the ATM while on vacation

Though there are security measures in place for when a card is left in an ATM, it is important to understand what could happen if a card is forgotten
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When traveling on vacation our minds are generally elsewhere. We are thinking about what we are doing next and a majority of the time we are overwhelmed with everything there is to do while on vacation. In some situations, we may be forgetful or feel rushed, which is why sometimes we tend to forget things that we would normally never forget about. Such as, leaving the ATM without getting the card back.

This happens more often that you may think and because of security concerns, many banks have established safety measures to prevent the theft and use of your card by an unauthorized person. Even if you are the one who left it behind.

Most ATMs are set up to suck the card into the machine after it has not been used for a set amount of time. The card is then stored in the machine until it is serviced the following day. Most ATMs are checked daily for deposits, cash levels and any cards that were left behind. Cards are generally sucked back into the machine after approximately 20 seconds of no activity. Many ATMs nowadays are requesting your PIN be put in for each transaction and if the correct PIN cannot be inputted the card is sucked into the machine. Reducing the chance of someone behind you using your card after you have.

In most cases if your card is left in an ATM that is owned by your financial institution the bank will hold onto your card until you are able to pick it up. You will need to call your bank and let customer service know you left your card in the ATM and when you will be in to pick it up. Some banks only allow a certain number of days to come in and pick up the card. Do not forget to bring a photo ID with you, such as a driver's license, state issued ID card or passport when picking up your card. The bank will not give it to you without proof of identity.

For security reasons, some banks will destroy all cards that have been left in an ATM. In this case you must order a replacement from your financial institution. If you are unable to get your card back because it was destroyed or the bank will not return it, you will need to cancel your card right away and order a replacement. Some banks will allow you to cancel and order a new card over the phone or online, while others will require you to be there in person.

However, none of the security measures help prevent the next person in line from retrieving your card for you and using it. That is why the minute you discover or realize you left your card in the ATM you must call your bank immediately and cancel it.

Please note that depending upon your financial institution and your account details you may be held liable for a set amount of money taken from your account due to the negligence of leaving the card in the machine. Make sure to contact your bank to cancel your card immediately.

Hopefully this helps you understand what will happen should you forget to retrieve your card from the ATM while on vacation.

Happy traveling!