What not to do if your debit card gets stuck in an ATM

We took that photo Sunday afternoon after multiple tips that the BECU ATM in Morgan Junction was out of service and damaged, as well as smeared with what looked like blood. We followed up with Seattle Police today to see if it was a theft attempt, or vandalism, or … Here’s what the police report says:

A 911 call Sunday morning brought officers to the freestanding outdoor ATM, where they found a man who said his card got stuck in the machine, so first he called the BECU phone number on the machine’s side, but didn’t reach anyone. Then, the police report says, he tried “to remove the card from the machine using a pair of pliers, but ended up accidentally breaking the card reader and cutting his finger in the process.” He told the officers that he called 911 himself because he “had no intention of causing property damage to the machine.” They offered to summon medical help for his finger injury, but he declined.

P.S. Police then tried to contact BECU to let them know about the damaged machine but, the report says, they couldn’t reach anyone either.

44 Replies to "What not to do if your debit card gets stuck in an ATM"

  • Eric1 August 12, 2019 (12:14 pm)

    It is one of those situations where it just isn’t your day.  Obviously,  he needed some cash for something important.  Like a first date. Then the ATM eats your card card:   Call the posted number and %&$@#, it is apparently after hours, even in Bangladesh.  You can’t just leave your card hanging there; Some lowlife could drain your account with your card. You can see your card so you get out your trusty leatherman….  Before you know it, your ATM card is in pieces, blood appears on you fingers, and parts of the ATM are hanging out.  Dammit,  time to call 911 before the bank thinks you are the guy who installed the skimmer device that probably jammed the card in the first place. All I wanted was $100……..

    • Eric2 August 13, 2019 (12:46 pm)

      Lmao perfect implementation of this event!

  • Canadian August 12, 2019 (12:17 pm)

    > They offered to summon medical help for his finger injury, but he declinedOnly in America you decline a five minute patch because you don’t want to be stuck with a thousand dollar bill for a bandaid.

    • The King August 12, 2019 (4:46 pm)

      There are still some people in America who know how to apply their own band aids. Maybe it’s different in Canada. 

      • American August 12, 2019 (5:00 pm)

        Then they wonder why they’re sitting there waiting 14 hours for treatment, because everyone’s going to the emergency room for cuts and scrapes.

    • American August 12, 2019 (4:58 pm)

      At least he would have gotten treatment. In Canada he’d be sitting there all day, and if he a was lucky maybe, just maybe, he’d see a nurse practitioner to put a band-aid on his finger. Meanwhile the wound is festering and probably infected because in all that time you could have just gone home, poured on some isopropyl, squirted on a little triple antibiotic, then applied the band-aid yourself.

      • Seaweed August 12, 2019 (10:29 pm)

        To American…I am a Canadian, with USA citizenship.You, are an ignorant fool.

      • Tacoma guy August 13, 2019 (3:30 pm)

        Look. I’m from Tacoma and went to University in Canada for various reasons and their health Care is so incomprehensibly good. I had a cold and needed to see a doctor for a sick note, and I was in and out in 15 minutes. They didn’t even ask to see my health card. I broke my arm a few months ago, and I was seen instantly upon arrival to Vancouver General and the only papers and concerns I walked out with were where the nearest pharmacy was. The american system is such sh-t that unless you have good, private insurance, your life is miserable, and even with good insurance, you can still get f***ed over. Don’t bad mouth another system unless you personally have dealt with it. Have a nice day.

  • ATMisObsolete August 12, 2019 (12:19 pm)

    Do people really use cash? ATMs are obsolete and waste of resources.ATMS will be like the phone booths. I use credit cards so I can get cash back.

    • WSB August 12, 2019 (12:49 pm)

      Yes, people really use cash. There’s an advantage for businesses to accept cash – any money processor charges a fee for you to get your payment. Not begrudging them that, as the cards/payment processors provide a service and need to get compensated, but we pay with cash for some things – coffee, Farmers’ Market produce (although an increasing # of vendors take cards), for example, mindful of the fee. And in some cases – if paying freelance reporters/photographers for their work via PayPal – we add $ to cover the fee. – TR

      • Matt P August 12, 2019 (4:02 pm)

        Except there is also a cost to accepting cash as a business and it’s often higher than swipe fees. You need security both from outsiders and to keep employees honest not to mention the time spent counting and depositing it all.

    • Michael August 12, 2019 (1:15 pm)

      I always use cash at bars and most of the time when I get food from a truck or coffee.  Credit card companies make money by selling your spending data to corporations, the money you get back is less than they make on that data.  Cash is faster, easier and gives more money to the vendor.  New cash payment apps are a dystopian nightmare of data collection.I’m not sure where you get the idea that ATMs are obsolete or wastes of resources.  That’s a clearly absurd statement considering the number of ATMs in the world.  Just because something is “old” or you don’t personally use it doesn’t mean it is obsolete.When I travel internationally I always prefer to use cash and only use my credit card in emergencies or for major expenses like hotel.

      • AtmisObsolete August 12, 2019 (2:47 pm)

        @michael.. only time will tell.You don’t need 10atms around the block,just go to the grocery stores.Cash attracts crime. China uses barcode pays.Go green. 

        • Jethro Marx August 12, 2019 (3:37 pm)

          Green like China? Or do you suppose their fancy payment systems have eliminated crime in their country? Also it’s funny how people feel about the utility of cash; in a serious natural disaster, flashing a bunch of cash around to purchase “essentials” may prove to be more hazardous than the earthquake/volcano/radiation that is wrought.

          • KM August 12, 2019 (4:02 pm)

            I always think it’s funny how people don’t want to carry around a lot of cash in case they get robbed. Robbery is so rare, and the robber can’t tell if there’s $1000 or $10 in your purse unless you tell them. I’ve heard that people are less likely to spend money if they pay in cash rather than swiping a card, so maybe there’s some frugalness to using paper money as well. It’s interesting to think about how our behaviors change based on our payment systems. I wonder if there’s any research out there that says you tend to spend more with peer to peer payment apps?

          • Mike August 12, 2019 (6:13 pm)

            I always use my credit card and electronics when natural disasters hit and knock out utilities like electricity.  

    • A WS Observer August 12, 2019 (1:22 pm)

      People use cash for various reasons. I prefer to use cash when shopping at small/local businesses to save them the fees charged when using a card. This is why you sometimes see signs stating a “service charge” when buying items under a certain dollar amount if using a card. 

    • Eric1 August 12, 2019 (1:28 pm)

      Lol.  Of course you need cash on the first date.  The wife could be checking the debit/credit transactions.

    • AlwaysBePrepared August 12, 2019 (1:45 pm)

      Hopefully you still have some cash tucked away in case of a power outage, earthquake or other emergency. ATMs and points of sale can go down for a variety of reasons (see what happens when a single airline has software issues) and being 100% reliant on plastic means you won’t be able to purchase essentials. Also – not everyone has or can get a credit card. Cash is still very much alive if you take a step outside your bubble. 

      • Just wondering August 12, 2019 (5:13 pm)

        And cash put aside for emergencies such as an earthquake should be in small denominations.  Cash registers and such need electricity to run so they won ‘t be able to make change it you are using large bills!

    • alkimark August 12, 2019 (2:39 pm)

      I almost always use cash when I can.  No way to get ID Theft!!

    • Satan666 August 13, 2019 (10:46 am)

      How else would I pay for my black market weed? And the recreational ripoff stores are cash only too. No one can buy weed here without CASH. Cash is king and you’re a fool to think that credit is the way to go. I ask for discounts when I pay with cash all over the world and it works. Better discount than my credit card with a measly 5% cash back. Good luck paying with a credit card when you find a rad street vendor in Sardinia, Croatia, Mexico, etc. And if someone’s Wi-Fi goes down that card is worthless. 

  • CeeBee August 12, 2019 (12:28 pm)

    Yep, when I showed up in the sign was missing, I also tried to call it in. I tried the local number as well, and got in an endless loop of “quick service option could they connect me with”. I finally drove to the new BECU office in the Whitaker building, and gave them input that they ought to have a number on the machine that people actually can reach.

    • waikikigirl August 12, 2019 (6:32 pm)

      It was a Sunday of course they were closed and no one answered the call, it’s bad enough some of BECU’s employees have to work Saturday’s. 

  • oakley34 August 12, 2019 (12:55 pm)

    In addition the burgeoning recreational cannabis industry is cash only for now…

    • M August 12, 2019 (7:11 pm)

      That’s a good point.  Ya know, people use cash for all sorts of healthy and fulfilling activities, like gambling.  You can’t just put a Mastercard into the slot machince! (Yet 🤞)

    • Rick August 13, 2019 (8:31 am)

      I believe that’s because it’s still not legal on the federal level.

  • Mj August 12, 2019 (1:06 pm)

    The person took the correct step, BECU has  culpability here too.  They failed to answer a call from a Client that needed immediate attention.  Isn’t the purpose of providing the phone number is to deal with situations like what happened?

    • WM August 12, 2019 (5:12 pm)

      As someone who has worked in banking a long time,  this type of situation is not unique. There is no immediate solution to this man’s ‘URGENT’ need. Shutting down the card is normal available from a multitude of methods online. And they’re not going to dispatch a tech in the middle of the night to come recover the card. Many institutions have policies that prohibit returning the card once captured, and others have smart enough machines they will automatically cancel the card when the machine keeps it. An out of order sign would have been a simple, effective way to prevent people from messing with the machine.

      • WSB August 12, 2019 (5:39 pm)

        It was 11 am, not the middle of the night. Not that dispatching a tech at 11 am Sunday is any more likely than “the middle of the night” but the police report doesn’t say he was hoping to reach BECU to request that … just that he was trying to reach them. If someone had answered, maybe they would have explained in the same way you did and he wouldn’t have gone for pliers. I am sorry not to have followed up with BECU to ask about a 24/7 hotline. Two numbers are suggested online (I don’t know which he, or SPD, tried).

  • newnative August 12, 2019 (2:24 pm)

    In my experience as a BECU member, they don’t outsource the customer service so they really don’t have 24/7 in person support. I’m pretty sure you can cancel card online at anytime though. Before the travel notice was automated, I had to be careful when I called for help. 

    • Andros August 12, 2019 (4:24 pm)

      Cancelling cards is a real pain these days since so many of our automatic charges are tied to credit cards.  I’m not sure what the best solution is here, though.

    • JVP August 12, 2019 (6:08 pm)

      BECU is a wonderful bank. I use them and love them. But they’re a total nightmare when dealing with off hours credit card issues. Anyone who travels will invariably deal with such issues from time to time. I now travel with a backup card. 

  • cjboffoli August 12, 2019 (4:18 pm)

    I don’t know if I’d go poking around a large electrical appliance connected to mains power. A bit of blood loss was probably getting off easy. .I find myself using Apple Pay as much as I can these days, for both the speed and convenience, as well as the security and privacy. And I use Apple Pay Cash to send payments to assistants, animators, etc. as it is instant and there are no fees on either side.

  • Jim P. August 12, 2019 (9:13 pm)

    I think BECU owes people an explanation as to why their posted trouble number was not answered by anyone.  This does NOT give me confidence I’;d wan to bank with a company that fails to provide proper support for a major issue of this sort.

    • Rick August 13, 2019 (8:34 am)

      He called the “trouble number” and that’s exactly what he got.

    • Me August 13, 2019 (11:19 am)

      Seriously? Most financial institutions are not going to answer the phone 24/7 and if you think a “big bank” is better because they might have someone that would answer the line at that time of night you are also off your rocker because you would likely get transferred a million times and guess what? They are not sending a tech out to get the card. If this guy couldn’t get it out with pliers no one else was getting it out with pliers. Cancel the card and move on (there is a line to report your card lost/stolen and I believe you can do it on their mobile app)

  • 1994 August 12, 2019 (9:30 pm)

    What I am curious about is who put up the  Out of Order sign onto the ATM? Was it the poor person who’s card got stuck? In addition to having  tools handy, they have paper,  pen, and tape too ? Surely not a BECU staffer put up the sign with yellow tape.

  • Greg August 13, 2019 (8:09 am)

    Kudos Man.  Takes a big man to do the right thing during hardship.  Much character here.

  • CeeBee August 13, 2019 (3:04 pm)

    When I got there, which was around 1:00 pm, there was no sign. So all I was trying to do is make sure BECU new their machine was damaged so they can get repair orders put in and the machinery starting to move into motion. I put up another post-it that said this damage has been reported, not sure how long that sign lasted

  • Jeannie August 13, 2019 (4:11 pm)

    A bit off-topic, but I hate BECU’s ATMs. The one at Morgan Junction seems particularly slow. Plus, I have to look at the ridiculous pics of weirdly, inexplicably overjoyed BECU customers on the screen while the machine’s gears wheeze and grind. No, I don’t want to see a bald guy with a pierced nose and a long beard . Show me pictures of cute dogs, Seattle sunsets, ANYTHING but creepy-looking people. 

  • CLL in Gatewood August 15, 2019 (3:32 pm)

    Drove by around lunchtime today and the service reps were there fixing (and hopefully thoroughly cleaning!!) the ATM.

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