Did I get free money?
April 14, 2009 12:45 PM   Subscribe

How long does a third-party ATM have to debit my account?

Slightly over a month ago, I stopped at a third-party ATM in a convenience store and withdrew $200 as a debit transaction. The authorization/debit has STILL not posted to my Wells Fargo account. I know that with a physical check, there is a limit on how long before the charge would be denied, but is there something similar for ATM transactions? I really hate having to mentally subtract the $205.50 (because of fees) every time I look at my balance....
posted by polexxia to Work & Money (9 answers total)
In my experience, it's always been same day. Something weird definitely happened.
posted by ConstantineXVI at 1:49 PM on April 14, 2009

You should call your bank and ask.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:53 PM on April 14, 2009

Um yeah, there's something messed up here--an ATM withdrawal is NOT a check and typically requires instant validation of your funds because it's a direct debit against your account.

I'm inclined to guess something screwed up, and I'm guessing the ATM doesn't store numbers, and thus, wouldn't be able to re-process the charge. Note that this is me guessing here; I suppose they could store it, but that seems like it'd be a huge issue and seems unlikely to me.

Contact you're bank, but you might be magically in the clear.
posted by disillusioned at 2:03 PM on April 14, 2009

I've had an ATM take a few weeks to show up. Something probably went wrong, your bank will almost definitely realise and bill you later for it.

Alternatively, someone just copied your card and got your pin number for 200 dollars - check your credit report.
posted by devnull at 2:28 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Devnull....

I'd be concerned about a skimmer if it weren't for the fact that the money actually dispensed :)
posted by polexxia at 3:00 PM on April 14, 2009

Skimmers nearly always still allow the original transaction to go through. Otherwise they'd be detected nearly instantly.
posted by dmd at 3:34 PM on April 14, 2009

Not sure if this is helpful, but recently a charge appeared on my credit card 4 months after I actually made the purchase. When I called the credit card company I was told that vendors have a full 12 months to actually charge your card. Third party ATMs my operate in a similar fashion.
posted by ASM at 3:40 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: Meh, 12 months is ridiculous.

And I wasn't aware skimmers allowed the transaction to go thru. Interesting. So far, I'm not seeing anything out of the ordinary in my accounts, except for the "non-debit".
posted by polexxia at 4:11 PM on April 14, 2009

My Google-fu is failing me, but I recall a post/article somewhere on the web about something similar happening (but with a much larger amount of money) so they spent some. The bank found out and there were major consequences. To be safe, perhaps contacting the bank is a wise choice. Or at least be prepared to have to return the cash if the bank does catch up.
posted by rickfu at 8:16 PM on April 15, 2009

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