ATM Safety Precautions


Although the world is going digital, ATMs don’t seem to decline in popularity. They are convenient banking devices that allow customers to withdraw cash, make transactions, pay bills, and perform many other operations fast and without any help from bank representatives. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers that can come with using them.

ATM crimes are not very common, yet it still makes sense to know some security measures that will help you protect yourself and your funds. In this article, we will explore ATM safety precautions that should be taken by customers before, during, and after any operation involving the cash machine. Moreover, we will find out what security features an ATM should have to protect its users from fraud, scams, and theft.

ATM safety tips

ATMs are a convenient way to access cash. Although the risks of using them are small, it’s still better to be aware of them. To keep your money safe, you have to be careful not only while using an ATM, but also when approaching and leaving one. Here are some essential tips compiled into groups for your convenience.

Before the Transaction

When approaching an automated teller machine (ATM) you can protect yourself by following these simple tips:

  • Choose an ATM that is in a well-lit, public area. Avoid using cash machines that are in isolated or dark locations.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and if you feel like you are being followed or someone is loitering near the machine, move to a different location.
  • When approaching the ATM, have your card ready to quickly insert it into the machine.
  • If possible avoid using an ATM alone, especially during late hours. Take a companion with you.
  • When using a drive-up ATM, keep the doors of your car locked and keep your car key at hand so that you will be able to get into the vehicle as soon as you’re done with your transaction.
  • Don’t write down your Personal Identification Number, try to memorize it. Moreover, keep your PIN secret and don’t share it with anyone, even law enforcement officers and bank agents.

During the Transaction

During any operations in the ATM it’s reasonable to take the following precautionary steps:

  • Make sure people waiting in the line behind you keep an adequate distance. If not, politely ask them to back up.
  • Check the ATM machine for any suspicious devices. Make sure that nothing is blocking the view of the surveillance camera.
  • Scan the ATM for card skimmers. These are devices that criminals use to steal credit and debit card information. Skimmers could be difficult to spot. However, try to remember whether anything in the ATM looks out of place or different from the previous times you’ve used it. Take a close look at the card reader itself. If it looks like it has been tampered with in any way, it’s better to cancel your ATM transaction and report the skimmer to the bank.
  • Stand directly in front of the ATM and use your hand to cover the keypad when entering the PIN.
  • If you withdraw cash, put it away immediately. Count your money only in a secure area.
  • If you run into problems, such as a malfunctioning ATM keypad or faulty card reader, don’t accept help from strangers. Call the bank or ATM owner directly and follow their instructions.
  • Don’t leave your receipt in the machine. Thieves may use it to find more details about your bank account.

After the Transaction

Once you’re finished with your transactions and have taken your card and receipt, here are some more tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure to put your money away in a safe place before leaving the ATM. If you are carrying a purse or wallet, keep it close to your body.
  • Check your surroundings. If there is a suspicious person following you, go to a crowded place and call the police.
  • Take or destroy ATM receipts that may have your account number on them.

Safekeeping Your Card and Code

When it comes to your credit or debit card, it’s crucial to keep your PIN code secret. Don’t reveal it to anyone, including relatives. Moreover, avoid writing it down or saving it as a text document on any electronic device.

Bank cards should be treated like banknotes, you should always know where they are and not leave them lying around. If your card is lost or stolen, it is important to immediately contact your bank or the company that issued it to report the incident and freezes all remaining funds on the card.

Tips when traveling abroad

When traveling abroad, you must take double precautions to avoid any issues with ATMs. The majority of safety measures are the same. You need to check your surroundings, opt for cash machines situated in safe, well-lit areas, and not let anyone else near the ATM while you’re using it. However, before your trip, it would be reasonable to check if there are any peculiarities with using ATMs in the country you are going to. For example, cash machines may operate only during regular business hours in some places. Moreover, make sure you know your bank’s policy about withdrawing money from international ATMs. Some cards may have a certain 24-hour withdrawal limit.

Other ATM Safety Tips

  • If you notice that the ATM is malfunctioning, cancel your transactions and call the bank or the ATM owner to inform them about it.
  • When choosing the PIN of your credit or debit card make sure it’s different from your birth date, phone number, etc.
  • Always stay alert and don’t trust strangers who offer you any sort of assistance.

ATM Safety Features

To help protect users, ATMs typically have several security features in place. Let’s have a look at the most important of them.

  1. Security camera. Surveillance cameras are installed in ATMs to deter crime and protect both customers and financial organizations. They can help law enforcement identify and prosecute those who commit ATM crimes. In addition, security cameras can also help banks investigate other suspicious activities, such as unusual withdrawals or attempts to damage the machine.
  2. Chips. Chip security is an extra layer to protect users’ sensitive data. It works by encrypting data so that it can only be read by the intended recipient. Nowadays, the majority of financial institutions add this feature to debit and credit cards, making them less vulnerable to skimming.
  3. Keypad covers. Some ATMs have a shield over the keypad so that the PIN code entered by users wouldn’t be visible to people standing nearby. However, even if the ATM you use has this feature it’s recommended to use your body or hand to cover the PIN pad anyway.
  4. Customer support number. Almost every cash machine has the phone number of the ATM owner and banking customer support. So, if you run into any difficulties you can immediately call them.
  5. Alarm. The ATM alarm is a sensor that emits a loud noise to deter criminals from continuing with their attempts. It can be triggered by various things, such as someone trying to break into the ATM, use the ATM without authorized access, or remove the ATM from its location.

ATM Security Solutions

ATMeye.iQ is a leading ATM security solution designed to protect users from any security threats and provide them with a consistently positive experience. It offers banks and financial institutions robust hardware and software solutions that comes with a wide variety of features that would comply best with their needs, including over-the-clock monitoring, automatic alerts, and more.

Hardware Components

ATMeye.iQ hardware solutions help financial organizations and banks protect their cash machines from unauthorized use, skimming, shimming, and other threats. Our product allows for extra cameras that can guarantee the surveillance of all device components. Moreover, it comes with a wide range of sensors that can not only keep the ATM security at a seamless level but also detect ATM component malfunction.

Software Components

ATMeye.iQ offers a cutting-edge ATM software security solution that can fit the needs of any business. It comes with excellent monitoring and security features, helping financial organizations improve their productivity and increase overall customer satisfaction. Some of the ATMeye.iQ unique features include but are not limited to:

  • Face recognition
  • Face detection
  • Anti-skimming
  • Remote File Management


ATMs are usually safe, however, there are still things that users need to be careful about. Summing up the most important tips, make sure you use cash machines in well-lit and safe areas. Keep your PIN code personal and don’t enter it into an ATM if there is someone else nearby. Always check your surroundings, and if you feel unsafe at any point, abort the transaction and leave the area.

Banks and financial institutions, in turn, have to deploy robust and up-to-date hardware and software ATM solutions that could provide their customers with the most convenient and safe experience.


How safe is an ATM?

ATMs are generally safe, but there are still some vulnerabilities that criminals can exploit. For example, skimming devices can be attached to ATMs to steal card information. However, these types of attacks are becoming rare as ATM hardware and software providers continue to improve security features. In addition, financial institutions are working hard to stay ahead of criminals by constantly monitoring ATM activity and investigating any suspicious transactions.

How can I protect my ATM?

To protect an ATM from various threats, firstly, it's important to physically secure the machine, making sure it’s situated in a well-lit and safe location. Secondly, the ATM should be equipped with security features like an alarm, security camera, sensors, etc. Finally, it's crucial to power an ATM with efficient and feature-rich software and keep it up to date.

Can an ATM make mistakes?

ATMs, just like any machine, are susceptible to errors. However, financial institutions and ATM software providers take consistent steps to ensure that their devices provide services of sufficient quality. If you face any issues while using an ATM immediately, call the bank or your card issuer, so they can help you quickly resolve your problem.

Is it safe to use an ATM at night?

ATMs are convenient machines that allow users to get cash quickly and easily. However, they can also be dangerous places, especially at night. Thus, if you have to use an ATM in the dark, try to find one that is located in a well-lit and populated area. Otherwise, take a companion with you.

Can ATM be hacked remotely?

It depends on the security measures that are in place for a given ATM. Although in most cases, hackers would need to physically be near to carry out a successful attack, some of them could manage to gain remote access to an ATM. As such, cash machine owners and operators need to take precautionary steps to protect their machines accordingly.

How do you secure an ATM card?

To secure your ATM card, it’s crucial not to leave it unattended. Moreover, never give your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to anyone, including your relatives, bank managers, and law enforcement officers. Last but not least, be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM machine. If you feel like you’re being watched or followed, cancel the transaction and leave immediately.

Related articles

Security 2022-09-16

Can ATMs Detect Counterfeit Money?

The majority of modern ATMs are jam-packed with high-end detection technologies that allow them to identify a…

by Kirill Ovsiannikov
Security 2022-08-17

How to Protect Yourself Against ATM Card Fraud

According to statistics, 47% of Americans have been victims to credit card fraud in the past 5…

by Kirill Ovsiannikov
Security 2022-07-27

Beware of ATM cash trapping

Sometimes all the fraudsters need to steal money from an account is a metal strip and double-sided…

by Kirill Ovsiannikov