How to Dispute an ATM Withdrawal

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Sometimes an unauthorized person takes money out of an account via an automated teller machine (ATM) withdrawal. This can occur if someone manages to somehow get a hold of both your ATM card and PIN number. ATM machines also make mistakes, such as reporting you received cash when the machine is empty. Just as you can dispute an unauthorized debit charge to your bank account you can also dispute an ATM withdrawal in some cases. Banks have procedures for handling this type of situation that may vary slightly, depending on the institution.

  • Retain your receipt or pull your bank statement to get full details about the ATM withdrawal, including the date amount and location of the ATM. If it was a bank location the transaction details may list a bank ID number. The location is important to the investigation because ATMs are commonly equipped with surveillance equipment.

  • Call or visit your bank to report the unauthorized withdrawal within two days of the occurrence to the fraud department. If you report within two days the liability due to the unauthorized withdrawal is limited to $50 (in some cases the bank will refund the entire amount). Provide full details of your dispute to the representative.

  • Fill out and sign the dispute paperwork (sometimes called an Affadavit for Unauthorized Use), which confirms what you've reported in writing so that the bank can initiate the investigation. The form asks for transaction data, your ATM card number, associated account number and a full description of what has transpired.The bank representative commonly fills out the details of the form and you must simply sign it to proceed with the investigation.

  • Wait to receive a decision from the bank on the matter. The bank has 10 days to conduct its initial inquiry. It can take 45 days or more for the bank to continue the investigation, if necessary. If the bank determines that it is an unauthorized withdrawal or some kind of mistake you'll receive a credit back to the account.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you've provided your ATM card and PIN number to someone you know and he withdraws money without your knowledge, this is not a situation you can normally dispute to recover your funds. Do not write your PIN number on the card or in your wallet.

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