Beware of ATMs that eat cards

I found your article on overseas ATM machines very helpful. [“The ATM Won’t Give Me Any Cash. Help!” Travel Insider, Aug. 13].

As an added precaution, I thought it would be helpful to warn readers that some of these machines eat ATM cards.

My husband and I were in Sydney, Australia, a few months ago. We had a two-week trip planned and had only a few Australian dollars.

Imagine my shock when, after I inserted my card and followed the usual prompts, the ATM kept the money and the card. The only message that appeared on the screen was something like “request denied.”


After spending a couple of hours talking to the bank manager and our hometown bank, we came away empty-handed. Our bank confirmed that we had more than enough money in our account to withdraw, but it could only cancel the eaten ATM card and send a new one to the hotel.

The Sydney bank manager said his bank was not allowed to return ATM cards to their owners if the machine took them. The best we could do was to persuade him to remove the card from the machine and cut it in half in our presence.

The only thing that saved us: We were carrying an ATM card for a second account.



Westlake Village