However, unlike in the case of debit cards, in-store purchases with an ATM card can be made only in person, as they require a personal identification number
or PIN. On the other hand, transactions through telephone or online can be made without in-person authentification, or even electronic bill payments.
Before ATMs appeared, European travelers used to load up on free Traveler's Checks, expecting to stand in huge lines to cash them every few days. But with the appearance of ATM cards, this problem has been solved, because ATMs became the most accessible money converters for travelers. It is the most convenient and comfortable way to get local currency. Since the appearance of ATM machines, travelers do not have any difficulties getting money in Europe.
Still, there are some difficulties that you may encounter using the ATM:
- If your PIN is longer than four digits you should shorten it because not every ATM accepts longer codes.
- You should make bigger transactions instead of many small ones, because it takes a transaction fee every time you make a withdrawal.
- When you are traveling, you shouldn't wait until you run out of all your money, because ATMs sometimes run out of money.
- Make sure you make a copy of your card info in case you forget it, only don't keep it near your card.
Fortunately, ATMs are to be found everywhere, outside of banks, airports, shopping malls, groceries, so they are extremely practical. Although, each ATM is associated with a bank, you can use your card in any machine, only that you will probably be charged a fee, and it might not worth it.
Another convenience about ATM cards is that they can be used just like credit cards (in stores, groceries, restaurants). But, as a friendly advice: keep a record of your card use, because every purchase you make with your card, it will be immediately removed from your account. Also, it is good to know that usually, there is a limit to the amount of money you can withdraw from ATMs in a day.
There are also certain safety rules about these cards that you should keep in mind:
- When you choose your PIN, make it easy to remember, but yet not so easy that someone else could figure it out (do not use your birthday or your address). Don't keep your PIN number close to your card.
- Before using the ATM, always observe the area. If anything seems suspicious, leave the place immediately.
- If possible, at night choose a well lit area, and preferably take a companion with you.
- When you withdraw money from an ATM don't spend much time at the machine, just take your money, put it in your pocket or wallet and walk away.
- Do not let anyone see your PIN; if you notice that someone is watching you, leave immediately.
- Do not forget to take your card when you leave!
Some people make the mistake of believing that an ATM card is actually a credit card, because the symbol of Visa or MasterCard is on it. However, if you buy something with your ATM card, the merchant is paid right away with funds, so basically it is a cash transaction.
This transaction takes place within the Visa or MasterCard processing system, which is why these symbols appear on the card, not because it is a credit card. No credit reporting takes place in this case.
More and more often, people find it convenient to shop with credit cards or ATM cards. But because these cards are so easy to be used, it also makes them very attractive to thieves. In case you lose your card, the sooner you report the loss, the more likely you will stop the thief from using your card. Most card frauds occur within the first 48 hours after a card is stolen, so it should be reported as soon as possible.
If a thief uses your cards before you report them missing, you will have to pay an amount depending on how quickly you reported it.
In conclusion, ATM business is convenient for everyone; it is one of the key elements of modern technology but they should be handled carefully.