“My ATM card just got captured. Help!”

…or what happens to be my one-week nightmare with my bank

One day, I was trying to get cash from an at a posh location. The machine was slowly taking the card in.

When it’s time to get the cash, the card is getting out slowly — and then it decided that nope, it won’t give me the card and it won’t give me the cash I asked for.

I was told by the ATM that my card is captured.

What was the first thing I did? I remembered the terminal ID of the darn machine which took my card. It had a terminal ID labeled somewhere, so I took note of it.

I got my backup prepaid card and thankfully I had online data in case I need to send a part of my funds to it.

Of course I tried to call the bank’s hotline, only to be welcomed by the signs of call center queuing, which left me sad and frustrated because it’s a waste of cellphone load and it’s a waste of time.

So I waited a day and tried to call the bank hotline again.

I was able to get to a customer service rep, told the details about the card capture along with the machine’s terminal ID, so on and so forth. I was advised that the said ATM is managed by a certain branch, and so I went there days after, only to hear the words “I’m sorry, Sir, the captured cards are not delivered here yet.”

Prior to this, I had insisted via phone to pick up the card at a branch near my office. Yup, it happens.

Of course, I insisted in person further that the card be delivered (and not disposed after a set period of time) to the branch I chose or else I don’t know what to do (because really, I don’t know — rant on social media that this bank is a piece of crap?). They got my mobile number and off to work I go.

A few days after, I was informed that the branch has sent the card to the branch as I requested. I did have to follow up with the branch I chosen (and unfortunately send some of my bad vibes off to them in the process) if the card’s sent there.

Fast forward to the time I got my card back, I am advised that I will have to reactivate the card by phone again and it will take another three days for things to go back to normal once the matter’s been called up.

I called back the bank hotline to finish this up, am glad to hear one of them even after office hours because I want to finish this nightmare for good.

Lessons Learned

To cap off this post, what I can share from this experience are three things that I already had prior to this incident:

  1. Remember the terminal ID of the ATM that got your card. Take good note of it especially if that’s from a bank different from your account.
  2. Have an online bank account for easy access even after bank office hours
  3. Have a backup prepaid card and link it to your online bank account. Or at least have an option to withdraw funds over-the-counter.

Above all else, it is your right to know the functions of your bank’s online application. Try tinkering with it in your free time. These apps might have the option to give you an advance queue number so you won’t have to fall in line all the way. These apps can save your time and effort in doing bank transactions.

Or just ask for a card replacement which can take up to a week to process because it’s the same darn thing — some banks issue Php250, some issue Php300, but then you won’t go through a lot of trouble.

If there’s one thing I realized in this journey, it’s that there are A LOT of captured cards that are being delivered to the branch which maintains the ATMs.

I also realized further that I have a tunnel vision mindset. tl;dr just ask for a card replacement, hahahaha. No joke. My efforts were in vain, please don’t be like me.