The Rules of ATM Etiquette

These days we use ATMs or, as some people call them, cash machines on a daily basis to withdraw cash from current and savings accounts. But because we use them so often, many of us have become too used to using them, and have therefore, have lost touch with the once sacred art of so-called ATM etiquette. So, how does one, or indeed anyone conduct themselves when they use an ATM? Here is the first part of a series of guidelines to help you use the ATM with grace, artistry and self awareness.

It’s Not All About You

Of course, we all know that when we need to access money from our bank, that heading to the cash machine is a purely selfish act. We need money to pay our bills, buy food, buy birthday presents and even pay for transportation, and so, it’s natural to assume that cash machines were created for our needs and wants, and our needs and wants alone. However, other people have needs and wants, and they will also need to use the ATM. We’re all used to seeing people queueing to use an ATM, and so, one of the most important things to remember is that when you use a cash machine, that you don’t take up too much time. Have your card ready and waiting to be used, and if you must use more than one card, then have that card ready too, because searching around in your bag for the appropriate card takes up a lot of time, and tries the patience of everyone who’s waiting behind you in the queue.

Try a Little Tenderness

By tenderness, of course, decency is more appropriate when applied to ATM behaviour. Because everyone has to use the ATM, you need to keep your eyes on any changes to the machine – especially if it looks like it has been tampered with in some way. However, the second most important thing to do, is if the machine runs out of money, and there is a queue of people waiting behind you, to tell them that the machine needs to be refilled. This is a case of simple courtesy, as there is nothing more upsetting than waiting for a while to use the ATM, only to find out that the person in front of you got the last of the cash, and didn’t tell you. We all have to use cash machines, so why not be as considerate to other users as possible, and let them know if the machine isn’t working, or better still advise the vendor of any problems with the machine, as they will be able to contact the ATM management company, and have them come and fix it. This way, nobody is very experienced for very long, and the cash machine will be up and running a lot quicker.

Personal Safety

While using an ATM is a quick and simple experience, it is an unfortunate fact of life that when we use a cash machine to withdraw money from a bank account, that we are slightly vulnerable to having our money stolen. This doesn’t mean that by using a cash machine that we are putting ourselves in danger, more that when you are seen to be handling cash in public – even if it’s a small amount of cash – that we are more attractive to thieves. However, there are many, many ways to stop this from happening, and ATM companies have taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of their customers, such as by installing CCTV cameras at their machines, and adding simple security measures, such as programmes that will chew up the user’s cash card if they input the wrong pin number three times in a row. When using a cash machine, make sure that you are aware of your surroundings; take your card as soon as the machine instructs you to, and don’t leave the machine until you have your card, cash and your wallet safely in your bag or in your pocket. If this means taking up extra time at the machine, don’t worry, this is about your personal safety, so take your time until you feel comfortable.

Personal Space

When you use an ATM, you will be in a confined space; so its important for you to feel comfortable and safe. However, there are some people that have no notion of personal space, or simply aren’t aware that they are standing too close to others. This is especially true in queues for the ATM, so if you’re standing in line, or especially if you’re using the machine, don’t be afraid to ask the person behind you to step back from you while you use the machine. They may be a little taken aback by your request, but everyone wants to have a little privacy when they’re typing in their PIN or when they’re putting money back in their wallet or purse. The chances are that the person standing behind you wants to have some privacy, so when you ask, be polite, be courteous, and remind that person that you need to have your personal space when you are using the ATM.

Using the ATM may be a daily occurrence for some people, but that doesn’t have to mean that we should become rude and disillusioned when we use them. So, look out for your fellow user, be polite and respectful the next time you’re withdrawing cash.

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