It is quite common to see that when a card is swiped, the ATM fails to dispense the money, although the money gets deducted from the account. Sometimes the money is returned to the account within a few hours, or at times you have to follow with the bank to get it back.
However, most of us are not so lucky to get the money back easily. Last year, for a Bengaluru-based couple such an ATM withdrawal turned costly. The wife was pregnant and the husband was withdrawing money on her behalf. When the ATM card was swiped by the husband, the ATM did not dispense money, though the amount got deducted from the account. When the money was not returned within a few days, they filed a complaint with the bank but the bank rejected it. The matter was brought to the notice of the consumer forum, and after nearly four years, the court ruled against the couple. The court stated that only the account holder of the card is authorized to use the ATM card to withdraw money, which was not the case in this situation.
Experts say one should avoid using a friend’s or family member’s card even in an emergency. Most of us are unaware of this fact, but the bank may reject the complaint as the contractual terms of the bank restrict cardholders from disclosing their card details and ATM pin number to any third party, which includes family members and friends. Hence, it is illegal to hand over your ATM card to somebody else for money withdrawal, or else on the grounds of ‘non-transferable rule’, the bank is right to reject your claim.
Though we take it very lightly and hand over our card to family members and friends for ATM withdrawal, one should avoid making cash withdrawals using someone else’s card as it can easily lead to untoward situations. Though it might be the ATM machine’s fault or any technical issue that your money was not disposed of, if you are using someone else’s card, you will be considered a guilty party.
What can you do?
To access the money lying in your family or relative’s account, you can explore other options. Also in the case you fall severely ill, become totally incapacitated, or become housebound, you can look at other alternative ways by which your family members can withdraw money from your account. Firstly, you can issue a bearer’s cheque and get the money withdrawn by someone else. With this conventional method, however, one needs to visit the bank branch and stand in a queue to get the money, which can be time-consuming.
Tech-savvy people, with the use of mobile banking or net banking, through RTGS, NEFT or IMPS can transfer the money to the other person’s account. These transactions, however, come with their own set of transaction upper limits and restricted timings. One can also transfer money through UPI, which is restricted to Rs 1 lakh per transaction.
Also, if you are bedridden, a nominee or a legal heir (in the absence of a nominee) is not of much help. Even though a nominee is entitled to receive any money lying in an account, only after the account holder’s death the bank gives the nominee charge of the account. Hence, only after the account holder has passed away, the nominee will get access to the account.
A joint savings bank account for such situations serves the purpose well. Both the account holders, for instance, husband and wife, can operate an account if they have an ‘either or survivor’ joint account. In the absence of the other, both the party can fully access the account, as the signatures of both the account holders are also not required. In other cases, one can also give a power of attorney (PoA), wherein the PoA holder can take care of a number of banking functions on behalf of the account holder.