The Top Twenty Tips for ATM Use

Photo of an unmodified ATM

Choosing an ATM


When possible, use ATMs with which you are most familiar. Alternatively, choose well-lit, well-placed ATMs where you feel comfortable.


Scan the whole ATM area before you approach it. Avoid using the ATM altogether if there are any suspicious-looking individuals around or if it looks too isolated or unsafe.


Avoid opening your purse, bag or wallet while approaching the ATM. Have your card ready in your hand beforehand. Also have your phone ready in case of emergency.


Notice if anything looks unusual or suspicious about the ATM indicating it might have been altered. If the ATM appears to have any attachments to the card slot or key pad, do not use it. Check for unusual instructions on the display screen and for suspicious blank screens. If you suspect that the ATM has been interfered with, proceed to another ATM and inform DCECU.


Avoid ATMs which have messages or signs affixed to them indicating that the screen directions have been changed, especially if the message is posted over the card reader. Financial Institutions and other ATM owners will not put up messages directing you to specific ATMs, nor would they direct you to use an ATM which has been altered.


If the ATM is having maintenance done, find an alternative ATM to transact at. ATMs need maintenance in order to stay in good working condition.

Using an ATM


Be especially cautious when strangers offer to help you at an ATM, even if your card is stuck or you are experiencing difficulty with the transaction. You should not allow anyone to distract you while you are at the ATM.


Check that other individuals in line keep an acceptable distance from you. Be on the look-out for individuals who might be watching you enter your PIN.


Stand close to the ATM and shield the keypad with your hand when keying in your PIN (you may wish to use the knuckle of your middle finger to key in the PIN).


Follow the instructions on the display screen, e.g. do not key in your PIN until the ATM requests you to do so.


If you feel the ATM is not working normally, press the Cancel key and withdraw your card and then proceed to another ATM, reporting the matter to DCECU.


Never force your card into the card slot.


Do not be in a hurry during the transaction, and carefully secure your card & cash in your wallet, handbag or pocket before leaving the ATM.

Managing Your ATM Use


Memorize your PIN. Do not have it written down anywhere.


NEVER disclose your PIN to anyone, whether to family member, credit union staff or police.


Do not use obvious and guessable numbers for your PIN like your date of birth.


Change your PIN periodically, and, if you think it may have been compromised, change it immediately.


Regularly check your account balance and statements, report any discrepancies to DCECU immediately.


Utilize surcharge-free ATMs when available. DCECU partners with the CO-OP ATM Network and Alliance One to provide surcharge-free ATM access to 30,000 ATMs for all DCECU members.


Please note that you should show the same precautionary care when using your card(s) at a POS (point of sale) pin-pad terminal in a retail environment or at a restaurant or when conducting transactions online, telephonically or when writing checks.


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