Ask the Readers: What Steps Should One Take for Resolving a Failed ATM Transaction?

by Vinaya HS on February 25, 2009

in Finance

Thanks for visiting Capital Advisor. I frequently update this blog to cover various topics on personal finance such as investment strategies, financial products that you should buy and ones that you really should stay away from, financial calculators, emerging themes such as early retirement and financial independence, and much more. You can Subscribe through Email and receive new articles directly in your Inbox or you can Subscribe through the RSS Feed and receive new articles in your feed reader.

Following my post on failed ATM transactions, a reader wrote in with his story.

On October 15, 2008, I tried to withdraw Rs 4,000 using my Citibank debit card at an HSBC ATM. The peculiar thing about HSBC ATMs is that the transaction slip is printed before the cash is dispensed. Unfortunately, there was a power failure after the transaction slip was generated but before the cash could be dispensed. Even my debit card was swallowed by the ATM. I lodged a complaint with Citibank who issued a new debit card and gave a temporary credit of Rs 4,000 (on October 22, 2008). Having received the temporary credit, I discarded the transaction slip.

On December 31, 2008, the temporary credit was reversed, and upon inquiry, was given the reason that HSBC had presented this as a valid transaction. I lodged a complaint again; Citibank re-investigated and upheld the reversal. I have been fighting with Citibank but to no avail. Citibank says that the best they can do is to issue a letter in order that I can pursue the case with HSBC. What should I do? I’m not sure if it’s worth going to consumer court for Rs 4,000.

I realized that other readers of this blog might have faced a similar situation and hence asked this reader for permission to post his question. What do you suggest that this reader do in order to resolve this problem?

My advise was to lodge a complaint with the nearest banking ombudsman.

Thanks for reading this article. I'd love to hear your opinion. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts. I frequently write new articles that also cover several other aspects of personal finance including credit cards, financial goals, health insurance, income tax, life insurance, mutual funds, retirement planning, and much more. You can Subscribe through Email and receive new articles directly in your Inbox or you can Subscribe through the RSS Feed and receive new articles in your feed reader.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Shashi February 25, 2009 at 9:51 PM

Might just help

This happened to me in Dec 07. Withdrew 4k from citibank but no money came out :( but transaction slip showed 4k less balance. Immediately lodged a complaint with citibank and it was reversed by Dec 31 ’07. Had to call them twice and each time took a reference number from the agent but finally they called back and confirmed the reversal.

Varunavi March 3, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Hi stumbled upon ur blog.
The bank should pay back the customer.Every day when the atm is replenished they take the closing balance and do the tally with the amount of withdrawl. There itself they will come to know of the excess cash (withdrawl slips shows the amt withdrawn but cash didnt come out).Maybe bank will take 3-4 days,but the excess cash is diffently seen.

Govardhan March 5, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Dear ,
Say you’ve SBI ATM cum Debit card and you’ve 8000.00 excluding the minimum balance of 1000.00 (because you also opted for cheque book facility).
Here two scenarios:

Scenario One: You tried at SBI ATM, You entered 2000.00 rupee to withdraw. You’re presented with the message as “Please wait, While your transaction is being processed”.
But unfortunately the server(s) in Mumbai goes down because of many reasons. So, Within 30 seconds what happens is, Your ATM will keep trying to reach the server, But it fails. So you’re then presented with the message as “Sorry, Unable to process” or “Request timed out”.

But after 5 minute the servers will be up and running. And you notice that, The other customers are successfully withdrawing the cash from the same ATM. So what you do is, Again you insert your card and after successful login, You try to check your balance.
Expected Balance Must Be 80000.00 (excluding minimum balance of 1000.00)
Actual Balance You See Is 60000.00 (excluding minimum balance of 1000.00)

So, What you’ve to do is………
First keep the previous transaction receipt with you safely.
Second thing is, Just go ahead and with draw the amount 2000.00 and make your things/work get done in right time.
Third thing is, Becaue you used the same network ATM, Just wait for 24 hour time, Next day you see your account credited back with 2000.00 rupee. And you know why this happens automatically because of ACID properties. Automicity, Consistency, Isolation and Durability properties of DBMS (DataBase Management Systems).

Means that, What exactly happens is, Once you’re accessing your account, Copy of the original status of your account pertaining to balance or whatever will be made and if the transaction is successful, Then the original copy will also gets updated. If the transaction is unsuccessful, Duplicate copy will get updated as per the original status. Means that, System will successfully recovers the data during the time of failure and the recoverd information is reliable.

If the amount not get credited after 24 hour, Here 24 hour means not exactly 24 hour, Suppose your time of transaction is 23:59 hr, i.e. 11:59 PM, So at this time, 24 hour means just a minute, thats it. You’ve to wait for a minute. Why because, At every first minute of the day, All unsuccessful transactions will be automatically reaches to its original states.

Fine, If the amount not get credited after 24 hour, Just wait for one more 24 hour, Means again for the first minute of the second day. Then check your balance. Definitely it gets credited back to your account.

Lets say, even after 48 hour, i.e. after 2 days also, Amount not get credited, Just go to your home branch where you opened your account and give a written complaint to the manager by attaching the transaction receipts. For safeside, Keep a copy of the receits. Parallelly you can make a call to the toll free number and register a complaint by giving all the details and make sure that you’ve taken the complaint number from the customer care executive. Otherwise, They just say that, Yes, Coplaint has been taken and we’ll follow up with this and get back to you. But you won’t get any calls later. If you’ve your complaint number, Then its the resposibility of the respective authorities to resolve your complaint in stipulated time (say hardly with in two working days and under worst cases this may be a 7 days or 7 working days – I’m not sure).

Since you lodged a complaint, Its then the resposibility of the branch manager to follow up. It takes minimum 12 working days to revert your amount back and that too this 12 days is under worst circumstances. Means that, Manager has to do his duty done with in 12 days of time. Otherwise we can appraise this information to RBI also which puts your bank manager under pressure and leaves you pleasure.

Thirdly you can send an email to sbi customer care giving all the reasons and scan copy of the receipts. You’ll be getting an automatic reply followed by one complaint number to your issue.

Scenario two: Supppose you used your SBI ATM in ICICI ATM.
Don’t wait for anyone. Just go to your home branch and give a written letter to the manager. He will take care. As per RBI, If this happens, Its the resposibility of the ICICI bank to credit back the amount to the respective account (your sbi account) with in 12 working days. And there is no need for the account holder to go to his/her home branch and give a complaint. And more over, From 13th day onwards, Bank has to pay Rs.100.00 penality per day.

Say even after 45 days also, Your amount was not credited back. Means that, As per RBI Norms, Your home branch has to pay to you the amount of Rs.2000.00 (unsuccessful transaction amount) and Rs. 3300.00 (Rs.100.00 per day and for 33 days i.e. 45 days minus 12 days (time given for the banks by RBI to credit back)), So total amount of Rs. 35000.00 has to get credited to your account from your SBI home branch.

And later, SBI has the rights to get that extra penality amount and the unsuccessful amount, So total amount of Rs.35000.00 from ICICI bank. Because its the delay from ICICI bank to credit back to your account, So as per RBI rules, ICICI has to pay Rs.35000.00 from their account. Very Simple.

Lets say, You got your amount Rs.2000.00 but after 45 days. If you’re not aware of this RBI rules, You’re in loss of Rs.33000.00. And if you’re very much aware of this, You can easily, very easily get this amount. What you’ve to do is, Just ask the branch manager, i.e. your home branch manager to credit Rs.33000.00 extra as penality and also inform him/her that, This is as per RBI norms. Simple. Manager will do that. AND MANAGER HAS TO DO. Otherwise, Just tell the manager that, You’re going to lodge a complaint again your home branch. Simple.

Next minute itself, Rs.33000.00 will be credited to your account. Because manager is not paying from his/her pocket. The same amount can be borrowed/collected from ICICI bank but not in the very next minute but within 2 to 3 working days. Simple.


Good luck.

Govardhan Reddy M,
Software Test Engineer.
“Law of win says that, Lets not do it in my way or your way, But lets do it in the best way”.

Previous post:

Next post: