ATMs offer consumers a great deal of convenience, and can also be used safely by following some simple rules. Visa has compiled a list of safety tips to help protect you while you are conducting ATM transactions.
When Using an ATM
Protecting your Visa and ATM cards
- Be careful when using freestanding ATM machines (those not connected to a financial institution branch), especially at night. Observe your surroundings – if the machine is poorly lit, or is in a hidden area, use another ATM.
- Have your Visa card ready and in your hand as you approach the ATM. Avoid going through your wallet or purse to find your card.
- Make sure that nobody can see you entering your personal identification number (PIN) or transaction amount. Use your body or free hand to "shield" the ATM keyboard as you enter your PIN into the ATM.
- To keep your account information confidential, always take your ATM receipts or transaction records with you. Keep your ATM receipts to compare against your monthly statement – this is one of the best ways to help guard against fraud.
- Don't count your cash while standing at the ATM – immediately put away your cash, card and receipt.
- Do not use ATMs that appear unusual, or offer options with which you are not familiar or comfortable.
- If you see anything suspicious, immediately cancel your transaction and leave. Confirm with your financial institution as soon as possible that the transaction was cancelled.
- If you are using an indoor ATM that requires your card to open the door, avoid letting anyone that you do not know come in with you.
- When using a drive-through ATM, lock your car doors and roll up other windows.
- If you lose your Visa card or ATM card, immediately contact the financial institution that issued your card.
- Always protect your Visa card and ATM cards and keep them in a safe place – just like you would cash or cheques.
- Do not leave your Visa card or ATM card lying around the house or on your desk at work. No one should have access to your cards but you.
- Keep your PIN a secret – never write it down anywhere, especially on your Visa card.
- Choose a PIN that is not connected to your personal information, such as date of birth or phone number.
- Never give out any information about your Visa card over the telephone, unless you are the one who initiated the call and you are confident you are speaking to a reputable company.
- If you have any security concerns regarding an ATM's location, contact the financial institution to which it belongs.
These tips are meant to make you aware that, although rare, ATM crime can happen and there are simple steps you can take to ensure you are not a victim.