In August, a peculiar incident unfolded as Joe Heinkel reported using his neighbor’s Direct Express card to withdraw cash from an ATM, according to details shared by NBC affiliate KSDK. However, a seemingly little-known machine design quirk led to a frustrating experience.
Heinkel recounted that the ATM permitted him to withdraw only $200 at a time. As he turned the money around and counted it, he noticed that the additional $200 he had withdrawn was no longer in the slot. Although his receipts indicated a successful withdrawal, the cash wasn’t physically in his possession.
Despite the $200 being eventually returned to Joe’s account several days later, he insisted that the money appeared to have vanished. Undeterred, Heinkel, who banks with Commerce, decided to make another withdrawal of $20 from the same machine. Astonishingly, the cash seemingly disappeared within approximately 30 seconds.
Responding to the situation, a representative from Commerce Bank addressed the uncertainty around the time allotted, citing that the customer used a non-Commerce Bank ATM. The bank assured that they had received Heinkel’s refund request and would promptly process it.
David Tente, the executive director in the USA and Americas of the ATM Industry Association, shed light on the peculiar phenomenon of bills being pulled back into the machine. According to Tente, this security measure is in place because some individuals withdraw cash, retrieve their card, and then walk away without taking the money. While the average time for ATM users to collect their cash is around 30 seconds, some machines may retract the money even sooner.
In light of such incidents, experts at Euronet advised ATM users not to panic. They emphasized the importance of recording the location, date, and time of the attempted withdrawal before contacting their bank. This approach aims to streamline the process of resolving such issues and prevent the next person from inadvertently pocketing the unclaimed cash.
The U.S. Sun reached out to Direct Express for their comments on the matter, seeking further insights into the incident.