How to Get a Retained Card Back

How to get back retained card back

A retained card are bank card swallowed by an ATM. This happened most times when a machine is out of order or it’s malfunctioning due to technical and network issues. An ATM can also retained your card after several attempts of incorrect card PIN.

However, whatever reasons your bank card is being retained/swallowed by an ATM, here’s what to do to recover it. But first and foremost, let’s talk about ATM, it uses and how it works with bank cards.

ATMs are great, easy and seamless ways to withdraw your money in cash from your bank account. Regardless of any bank you’re using, be it Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, BOA, UBA or First Bank of Nigeria, your issued bank ATM card can be used to cash out in any ATM terminal.

However, there are those rare occasions when an ATM will swallow your card. But you don’t have to panic whenever you face this kind of problem because you can actually take some actionable tips that can help you get back swallowed ATM card quickly with your account funds remaining intact.

ATM swallowed my Card, what do i do?

Follow these actionable tips to recover your retained ATM card back:

1. Let the ATM Restart

Usually, when a Cash Machine have glitches, it take 10 minutes for it to restart. But, in some cases, it may take upto 15 minutes for an ATM to restart. If the ATM restarts, it system will reset and there’s chance that it may slot out your card without any further actions or requirements.

However, if the Machine has been resettled, and there’s sign of continual transactions, it means you have to proceed to next actionable tips to get back your bank card.

2. Note the Cash Machine

This is the next actionable tips to practice when the machine’s resetted and your card is not being spit out. You have to take note of the time, ATM site and how it happened.

For instance, you have to take note of the time you begin using the machine, date of that day, some possible errors you encountered while retrying, ATM location and type. Furthermore, you also need to note whether the Cash Machine is for another bank, whether it’s standing alone on the street, or an ATM in a mall? Does it have a name, brand logo, and/or any other details?

When all these details have been noted, including pictures of the ATM terminal, you can proceed to the machine’s provider (e.g Bank) and tender all the information gathered from the machine. Mostly, ATM is installed in front of it bank. Simply enter the bank and tend those info, an account manager will get in touch with further assistance.

3. Contact your Bank

The only reason you can contact your bank is because if you tried all the actionable tips discussed above and seems none of it is yielding good result, it’s better to give on the card and contact your bank for blocking of card.

Most ATM destroy cards immediately they’re swallowed and purge them to other side to prevent fraudulent activities. So, in most cases when you’re not getting back your card, it’s likely that the Machine has destroy it.

Hence, all you need to do is contact your bank to block the particular card and other for a new debit card. Meanwhile, contacting your bank might seem slow in response. Well, it’s normal because regular traditional bank customer service responds to customer queries within 48 hours.

Therefore, you may want to use your mobile banking app or internet banking access to block your swallowed card and other for new one. The card will be delivered to your mail in seven business days.

Why was my Card Swallowed?

Although ATM swallowed card for various reasons, but here are common reasons why ATM might retained/swallowed your bank card:

ATM giving issues
  • Lost then recovered card or blocked then unblocked card could get swallowed by ATM due to suspicious activities. If a lost card is reported, then recovered, and you go ahead and retry it, it’ll surely get retained.
  • ATM will retained your card if you enter wrong password/pin three (3) times without getting the correct one. Multiple wrong trying of card PIN shows the card was stolen.
  • An outdated, out of coverage or malfunctioning ATM will surely retained/swallowed your bank card if it allows it to be slotted.
  • After a successful transaction, if you forget to remove your card within 15 minutes to 30 minutes, the cash machine will have to swallow your card and retain it because it believe it can gets to the hands of wrong person.
  • Lebanese Loop is fruadlent activity that can cause your card to be swallowed when ATM detect the loop. The Labanese Loop is when you slot in your card and input your card PIN while the scammer watches or place a thin strip into the card slot to get your PIN. Every ATM have a frontier camera that capture user’s activities. So, if this fraudulent activity is detect by the ATM through the CAM, you can will probably get retained.
  • If you bank isn’t responding or having server/network downtime while you’re transacting on another bank ATM, you card can get retained or swallowed.
  • Your card was swallowed and retained due to suspicious activities signals received from your bank. This happens when you bank is worrying about your transaction. So, a signal will be sent to current ATM you’re using to seize your card.
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Precautions to Card Swallowing and Retaining

Pay attention to the following to prevent your card from being swallowed or retained by other banks ATMs while cashing out your money:

  • First and foremost, avoid using another bank’s ATM and if you must use the ATM check properly whether the machine is fully at service or partially out of service.
  • Avoid suspicious ATM or Cash Machine with the signs of unkempt or abandoned, avoid inserting your card in such machines.
  • Follow ATM instructions carefully. It’s obvious that ATMs doesn’t have the same operating steps. Besides that, a fully functioning ATM will notifies you about status and conditions of the Machine.
  • Avoid using expired ATM card. Although, a well person in his mental senses will know that Expired card will not bring out money, but you might have forgotten your card’s expired. So, always check your card for expiration before using it at any ATM terminal to avoid card retaining.
  • Do not enter multiple wrong password/PIN while trying to use your card at ATM. If you forget your card PIN, try to visit your bank to reset it. Card PIN resetting can also be done on your bank’s ATM or via mobile banking app and internet/online banking.
  • Lastly, do not wrongly insert your card to an ATM. Although, it won’t be inserted but it will definitely be inserted to faulty ATM and it’ll surely leads to card retention. So, make sure your card chip face upright before slotting it in.

Swallowed ATM Card while Abroad

Can card swallowed while abroad be recovered? The answer is probably because it isn’t a good scenerio as there may be language barriers which may leads to difficulties in fixing the problem on the spot, especially if the ATM is not linked to your bank subsidiary in that country.

Suggestions: we can advise that if you must use a ATM while abroad, try to walk to Machine installed in front/lobby of its bank so that if it does swallow your card, you can simply walk into the bank to recover your debit card.

Engage yourself in using cardless withdrawal while staying abroad. Banks like NatWest, Barclays, Tesco and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) all supports banking systems that allow customer to withdraw cash without a debit card. A cardless withdrawal can be carried out on mobile banking app or internet banking. So, if you have access to any of the online banking services, you can simply withdraw cash anywhere in the world via cardless withdrawal option.

Additionally, make sure you have a backup bank card to replace a retained card immediately the card is swallowed. The card can be linked to the same bank account or different one. When a card is swallowed by an ATM, you can simply switch to another card. If the card uses different account, with mobile banking or internet banking, you can transfer the funds.

Lastly, enlist the help of a local contact to connect with the number on the ATM/ATM bank. If you are a foreigner, you may not be able to call the ATM’s institution yourself. If you are in a public area such as the airport, metro, mall, try contacting the local security/guard around. They may be able to assist you to contact you with the bank and explain the situation. 

If there is no security around or help desk close, you may have to ask people around you for help. Ask for a local calling boot to contact the number on the ATM if you don’t have a working phone and the language is also a hindrance.

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Furthermore, another thing to consider while using debit card abroad is to know your bank’s policy regarding using of their services in foreign land. Nigerian banks usually send their customers new cards that’ll work abroad pending the time they’ll return home. However, you’ll have to visit your bank to get a card that’ll work abroad.

Lastly, think about using a travel credit card or a prepaid card while staying abroad, especially when you’ll be making large purchases because Credit & Prepaid Cards have better protection, better exchange rates, and can be rush-replaced within a few business days. 

If you want to use it like debit card, preload the prepaid card with money (above your monthly balance and use it like an ATM card to withdraw the cash) and use it in-store POS, ATM and online.

How to Report Misplaced or Stolen Card

There are numerous ways to report a lost or stolen bank card. You can simply report and block a card via mobile banking app or internet banking access. A card can also be reported through contacting your bank customer care service and tell them about your stolen card.

For Bank of Scotland, lost or stolen card can be reported through contacting UK contact number: 0800 028 8335, Call from abroad: +44 (0) 131 454 1605 or via mobile banking app or internet banking.

For NatWest Bank, Card can be reported via connecting with their customers care representative through calling of UK contact number: 0370 600 0459, Call from abroad: +44 1268 500 813, and through mobile app and internet/online banking.

You can use 0800 096 9779 to get in touch with Lloyd’s Bank in the United Kingdom (U.K.), or call from abroad through +44 1702 278 270. For HSBC, 0800 085 2401 is their U.K. contacting means for reporting a lost or stolen card and their international call number regarding this issue is +44 1442 422929.

For Barclays Bank, contact 0345 7 345 345 in the U.K., and call from abroad using +44 2476 842 099. Metro Bank customer service contact information are 0345 08 08 500 and call from abroad number is +44 20 3402 8312.


If my card is swallowed by another bank’s ATM, can they withdraw my money?

No, your money cannot be tampered with. Some ATMs usually destroy card whenever they retained it, while many don’t. However, it your money is withdrawn, that means the ATM has been tampered with or is suspected of fraudulent activity.

Bank of america atm swallowed my card what do i do?

First and foremost, enter the bank and complain about their ATM swallowed your bank debit card. The customer base service will help you will further assistance. However, if the cash machine has destroy the card, just go get a new debit card from your bank.

How do I remove stuck card from ATM?

1. Wait for 15 for the ATM to restart. There’s probably that when it reboot, it’ll slot out your card. 2. Note our the incident happened and visit the ATM’s bank to complain. 3. Notify your bank for lost card do that they can help you block the card. 4. After trying all that, and you don’t get back your card, order a new debit card from your bank. It’ll only incur for small amount of money.

Why do ATMs eat cards?

There is a variety of reasons why ATMs swallow and retain bank card. Some of them includes and not limited to out of service cash machine, no money to dispense, server or network downtime, suspicious activities and many more.


It’s not a big deal that ATM swallowed your card. It’s just kind of frustrating because it usually be the time you need cash the most. However, there are some precautions to take to avoid card being swallowed and retained by ATM especially when you’re using another bank’s cash machine.

Those precautions have been highlighted above. Possible reasons why your card is retained by an ATM is always discussed and contact information of each bank to complain about your card being retained.

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