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ATM Deposit gone bad

I had a checking account with CityBank during my stay in the US in 2007. A lot of US-based online stores wanted US-issued card only (the same goes for UK stores, same attitude towards foreign cards), so I had to physically withdraw money from my Ukrainian card and deposit it to my US account (other options were not available at that time).

So once I found out I can do the deposits without bank teller via the ATM I decided to try it immediately.

Here's my dialog with the machine:

  • What do you want to do?

  • Deposit

  • How much do you want to deposit?

  • (Huh? That does not look right, you should check how much I have deposited. Okay, let's test) $200

  • Insert bills or envelope

  • (Excuse me? An envelope? How will the ATM check the bills are genuine? Bills or envelope... ok, I will go with the bills. I insert the stack of bills into the machine hoping there's some sort of feeder and verification system in place and notice the bills simply dropped somewhere inside the machine, oops)

  • Thank you for banking with CitiBank

This happened after working hours, so I decided not to continue stuffing the ATM with my money for the time being and see whether something goes wrong.

At home I checked CitiBank onine banking system and found that I had a successfull +$200 deposit.

The next day I went to CircuitCity and purchased some things using the card, when I returned home in the evening I found out that I had -$140 balance on a debit account.

Something went wrong.

The next day I went to CitiBank branch, spent half an hour with my account manager explaining what I did, she asked around and one teller confirmed that yeah, they had $200 unaccounted in the ATM because some idiot (my word, not theirs) decided it was a good idea to shove the money into the deposit slot. Overdraft was dropped, I learned a valuable lesson and used an envelope next time.

In 2011 Citibank started switching to ATMs that count and verify the bills and no longer require these weird envelopes.