It’s Rainy Season
- 0.1 It’s Rainy Season
- 0.2 Living Off an ATM Card
- 0.3 But Remember Storms
- 0.4 And Remember Anti-foreign Paranoia in the USA.
- 0.5 But Your Card Might Be “Eaten”.
- 0.6 The Dreaded “No Dispense”.
- 0.7 What Happens and Who Is responsible:
- 0.8 How You Fix a “No Dispense”?
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Hope everyone who happens by here is having a good day. I certainly am, although it’s pouring rain (yet again) and I have to go to Manila. Driving in the rain here is not like driving in the rain back in the USA. Traffic, especially around schools will double or triple with even a little sprinkle. And when it rains a bit harder, you have to consider the dreaded “baha" (Tagalog word for flooded streets). Rains seem to often be quite localized and if you don’t know which streets always seem to flood .. and avoid them, you just never know, almost any where, where street drains are blocked up and the water’s hub cap deep before you even realize it.
I recommend always buying/driving something like an AUV (Asian Utility Vehicle) like my Mitsubishi Adventure. There are a LOT of tiny, cheap, very low riding mini sedans. Not a good choice in my view. An easy way to evaluate a purchase? On the manufacturer’s web site or some fan-based website for that vehicle, look up the official specs and find out the “Wading Depth”?
Yeah, most of you never heard of it, but it’s a common spec in Asia. You want 500MM or more. If the car/AUV/SUV/truck you are thinking f does NOT have a wading depth specified?
Choose another model.
Living Off an ATM Card
Yesterday it wasn’t that flooded at all, and I noted I was a bit low in the cash department, so my wife and I went to our local mall, for a number of things, one important chore being to “tap” the cash machine with my local bank ATM card. I use BDO Universal bank, one reason being their local branch is open 7 days a week from 10:00 am to 7:00 PM, and the other being they have a total of 10 ATM’s in that mall. Easy to access my money.
But Remember Storms
Except, of course, in the rainy season when there has been a recent storm, like Glenda, which toppled tree and power and telephone lines around our home and at least a hundred miles north of here, ATN’s, in case you haven’t thought of it, require three things.
- Communications with the bank’s “Back Room”
- Cash (which is refilled from armored cars who make regular runs to restock the machine, sometimes as many as three times a day).
If the highways are blocked with fallen trees and many power lines are down, and thousands of phone lines are down, want to hazard a guess at how much cash you can get out of your favorite cash machine? It’s pretty easy. Zero.
Yesterday, even weeks after the last big storm, only 2 out of the 10 local locations were working and stocked. Today, 1st of August and “Seweldo” (payday) for a great many Filipinos, I wouldn’t give you a “plugged Peso” for your chances of getting cash.
And Remember Anti-foreign Paranoia in the USA.
If you are using a US bank’s ATM card, or a US Credit card to withdraw money, you need to keep something else in mind. Connections between the US banking network and the Philippine banking network are never guaranteed.
For whatever reason, or for no reason at all, your US card may suddenly not work in the Philippines.
Sometimes this is a minor annoyance. You go to another machine and try again later and the transaction goes through and money spurts out the slot.
But Your Card Might Be “Eaten”.
Depending upon either government rules or banking rules, which you and I are never privy too, it is uncommon, but totally possible that you may slide your card in the slot for a transaction and find that instead of spitting your card back out, the machine just suddenly sits there with the screen flashing the message, “Card Held, Call Customer Service” (at some phone number or another).
Oops! Assuming your card isn’t reported stolen or has some other actual bank issue pending, you may get your card back in 4 to 5 days. Yep, at least one working week.
Nothing at all you can do about it. You can scream, you can bitch, you can scream, you can threaten law suits … whatever. Your captured card will be taken by the armored car messengers to their headquarters, and from there it will be transferred to the bank’s headquarters, and perhaps, later that week, if the card was captured by mistake, you might be able to pick it up from a location the bank designates.
Most likely though, the bank will put it in a pouch and ship it via secure means to the bank which issued the card and the “capture” order. You will likely never see that physical card again. You did check, before you moved, that your bank will send a replacement card to an overseas address, didn’t you?
Do you have a plan to keep you and your family eating if the ATM “eats” your card?
The Dreaded “No Dispense”.
A slightly l4ess serious problem happens much more frequently here in the Philippines. The “Dreaded No Dispense”>
You put in your card, set up your withdrawal, type in your PIN, the machine whirs and flashes and clicks and then your card spits back out. And no cash accompanies it.
Oops. You did ask for a printed receipt, didn’t you? Hopefully you did and the receipt will come out showing zero cash has been “dispensed”. But maybe not.
Oh well. You go home and perhaps look up your balance online back in the USA.
What the heck? The machine gave you nothing, but your US bank balance shows that you just received your cash here in the Philippines. Oh my!
It is not a question as to IF this will ever happen to you, it is only a question of WHEN this will happen to you, because there are a LOT of ‘moving parts” in the whole ATM chain, very few of which are under your control, or even the Philippine banking system’s control.
What Happens and Who Is responsible:
The ATM machine you stuck your card in here in the Philippines is owned and operated by a Philippine bank. When you stick your card in for a transaction here, the owning bank is not making any banking transaction. It is acting as a paid service provider under contract with the bank which “owns” your card, back in the USA. The responsibility of the bank here is to transmit your request to the owning bank, and process your request in accordance with the instructions they receive electronically from your card owning bank’s computer.
If the correct ‘dispense” code was not received, you won’t get your cash. Period.
You can’t storm into the office of the Philippine bank and demand they give you your cash .. because really, they don’t have it. If your US bank was in error by not sending the releasing code, the Philippine bank made no error and they have no money to reimburse you with.
How You Fix a “No Dispense”?
Keep calm. Notify the customer service center (or the nearest branch manager) of the machine who owns the teller machine.
Get on the phone to your card issuing bank and request return of the erroneous withdrawal amount.
Wait patiently and reflect upon why Philly told you years ago NOT to live on an ATM card as your only source of cash. You’ll have plenty of time to think of a good solution if you move to the Philippines