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We are all too comfortable with the idea that if we need cash, we pull out our ATM card and withdraw the money.
But what if you don’t have your ATM card, or worse, you lose it and the bank isn’t open?
This feeling of utter frustration that comes over someone who needs cash but has no means to get it is real.
Not being able to access funds when they are needed can be incredibly stressful and cause serious financial strain.
But fear not.If you find yourself in this situation, there are still some viable options available to get your hands on some cold hard cash.
In this article, we’ll share 12 tips for creative hacks when your ATM card fails so that next time an emergency arises, you’ll be better prepared with how to manage it despite not having any immediate access to monetary resources.
#1. Sell Gift Cards
If you have gift cards that you don’t plan to use, you can sell them to others for cash.
And if you are in a real pinch, you can buy a gift card with a credit card and resell it to get the cash.
#2. Get a Money Order
While most places will charge you a small fee for getting a money order, this is a great option.
The biggest drawback of this option is that some places will require you to pay for the money order in cash, while others will only do so for large amounts.
Because of this, you might need to shop around.
#3. Write A Check To Yourself
If you have paper checks on you, the easiest way you can get access to the cash you need without your card by writing a check to yourself.
Simply write your check, go over to your bank and present your ID, and get as much as you need for the day.
This is the ideal solution as there is no daily limit on the amount of money you can withdraw.
Let’s imagine that your bank is far away from you or it’s not currently open for some reason.
In this situation, you can often go to your local supermarket or another store instead.
Most stores offer check-cashing services.
While you will likely have to pay a fee, it’s better than going without any money in your wallet.
The biggest downside to going to a third party to cash a check is they usually have a withdrawal limit on how much you can cash a check for.
#4. Use A Withdrawal Slip
Speaking of going to the bank, another option you have is using a withdrawal slip.
A withdrawal slip allows you to fill out all the necessary account information, request a certain amount of cash, and go to a teller at one of your local bank branches to retrieve it from them.
In the event that you don’t have any checks on you or you never requested them, you can always use a withdrawal slip to request funds.
While we’re on this topic, you may be wondering where you can get your account information to request funds.
One of the top places to find your routing number and account number is via your online banking account, where you can log into an app or onto a computer to see your account information.
Another option is to pull out your checkbook and look at the bottom.
The first set of numbers is the routing number and the second set is your account number.
If you don’t have this information or you can’t seem to get into anything, you can always speak to a teller to figure out what your account information is.
Most times you will have to show photo ID and verify some account information.
#5. Speak To Your Bank
If you’ve just opened an account and you don’t know how to get cash, you can always go down to your bank and explain the situation.
Transitioning over to a new bank can be confusing.
In some cases, they’ll walk you through the actions above to help you get the cash you need.
If you’re currently without a debit card for any reason, they may also be able to issue you a temporary one so that you can withdraw funds without having to spend a week or two waiting for the new one to come in the mail.
The only time where this may not be applicable is if you solely use an online bank that doesn’t have any physical locations near you.
In this case, you can still call the bank and see what your options are.
#6. Emergency Cash Service
Many banks offer ways to get access to your cash in the event you lost your debit card or it was stolen.
Here, you can simply report your card lost and the bank will cancel it.
The benefit is, you can get access to your money now.
The downside is you will have to wait until your new card arrives to get more money from the ATM.
#7. Have Accounts At Different Banks
Another solution is to keep accounts at two different banks.
When you do this, you can take advantage of electronic money transfers between the accounts.
Then withdraw the money using the debit card you have.
For example, you might have some savings accounts at a second bank in case of emergencies.
Just transfer the money from one of these accounts to an account at another bank and go to the automated teller machine to get your money.
You might even be able to use a payment app as well since you have 2 different bank accounts.
But I haven’t tried this, so I can’t confirm it will work.
#8. Open A New Account
This option isn’t a quick solution, but if you would rather not carry a physical debit card around, it could be an option.
Major banks are now offering a digital debit card to bank account holders.
All you need to do is download the banks mobile banking app and when you need cash, the app will provide an ATM pin number in the form of a qr code.
Head to one of the in network ATMs with your mobile device, scan this code at the ATM machine, and get your money.
If you aren’t sure of the ATM locations that offer cardless ATM access near you, check with your bank.
#9. Use A Cardless ATM
These days, all cards have chips.
This means that machines are capable of reading cards rather than making it so that you have to insert your card when you want to withdraw cash.
Even better, there are many ATMs that make it easy to withdraw money without an ATM card using your mobile phone.
Today’s smartphones often have digital wallets that you can store your card information on.
If you have your bank’s mobile app, you can even access card information until your physical card comes in.
This makes it easy to use your phone to make a cardless cash withdrawal if your bank offers them.
Simply hold your phone to the reader when requested, tell the ATM how much you want to pull out, and get your cash.
It’s that easy. And if your bank doesn’t offer cardless ATM withdrawals, search your local area as other banks might.
You might be able to use that ATM.
When it comes to an out of network ATM fee, if your checking account reimburses you fees, you don’t have to worry about it.
#10. Have A Friend Withdraw Money For You
If you need money now and you don’t want to have to take time to go to the bank, you could always ask a friend or family members to pull out some cash at an ATM for you instead.
These days, third-party digital payment apps abound.
All you have to do is send money via the apps that they use, and they can pull it out once that money is in their account.
This may not be the most efficient way to get cash, but it’s a solution when you need it most.
Here are a few of the apps that you might be able to use:
- Google Pay
- Facebook Messenger
- Square Cash
- Apple Pay
- Samsung Pay
The biggest downside to these is most apps limit the withdrawal amount of money you can get at one time.
If your friends don’t use a digital payment app, you can also see if they would be willing to lend you some money until you find your card or have access to your accounts again.
In this case, you would just head to any ATM, like at a gas station, bank, or convenience store to withdraw the money.
#11. See If Your Credit Card Offers Cash Advances
This suggestion is an absolutely last-resort recommendation.
However, if you have a credit card that offers a cash advance, you may be able to take your credit card to an ATM and take out a certain amount that you will be able to pay back by a certain date.
Think of it like using your credit card to buy something, with the exception that you’re getting the actual cash instead of paying for the goods.
The problem lies in the fact that it’s still a debt.
Unlike going to the ATM with your debit card, you don’t actually own the money.
Should you fail to pay it back, you run the risk of dealing with interest payments and impacting your credit score should you wait too long.
Put simply, you don’t want to take out a cash advance unless you can’t pursue any of the actions above.
If you do take a cash advance from your credit card, make sure that you pay it back as soon as possible to avoid any financial repercussions.
#12. Prepaid Cards
For those looking for how to withdraw money without an ATM card, you may feel like you’re overlooking a very simple solution.
Instead of going through all of the effort above, you may want to go to your local store and find gift cards.
Buy a Visa debit card that can be used as a regular debit card, go to the cashier to load the specific amount you want, and head on over to the nearest ATM.
While Visa gift cards are very much like a prepaid card, they aren’t designed to be used at ATMs.
You can still use them like you would any other gift card, but you won’t be able to withdraw any cash from them.
This often happens because people tend to confuse Visa gift cards with the reloadable options that are offered by certain banks and other financial institutions.
If you’re trying to limit your spending anyway or you don’t want to be stuck without cash should this happen in the future, this might be a financial tool worth adding to your wallet.
However, it’s important to understand the difference between the gift card and the reloadable prepaid card as people can tend to get them confused.
Many times they buy them only to discover that they can’t take out any money.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.