ATM Hangs

Friday, November 23, 2007

I've been fortunate enough that my ATM has never been captured by an ATM machine (ok... M stands for Machine so it's redundant, but it sounds much better don't you think ?). I remember being frustrated that the person in front of me had his ATM captured...frustrated because I couldn't use the ATM and I was next in line after lining up for around 10 minutes.

Just recently though, I experienced something quite out of the ordinary (for me at the very least) when I was widthrawing from a BPI ATM When I was finished with my transaction, the ATM gave me my card back and issued a receipt. I found it odd at first that the machine ejected my receipt without any notice. Usually, the screen would remind the user to take the receipt. 10 seconds after I took my receipt then did the machine prompt that I take my receipt. I thought it was just a delayed message since I press keys very quickly when I use ATMs. I was disturbed though that the machine was kinda stuck on that screen prompt and didn't loop back to it's initial state ready to accept a new user/card.

I couldn't leave the ATM for fear that my card, even though already ejected and safe with me, was still logged in to the network. I've used a similar ATM (UCPB ATM at SLEX Caltex or Petron Rest Stop) wherein you enter your ATM card, key in your PIN and then upon successful logon, immediately ejects your card but still allows you to conduct any transaction.

I thought of trying to enter my card again so I could sort of log in and log out properly to be safe. However, I was scared that since the ATM didn't seem to be functioning properly anymore, may capture my ATM. I wouldn't want to risk that. Since I didn't see any security guard nor person that I could talk to, I just situated myself nearby waiting for someone else to use the ATM. I kinda looked like a suspicious person awaiting a victim, which I consciously tried to hide the fact that I was interested in finding out if the next person to use the ATM can access their account without error and not my account.

After 3 people going to the ATM and trying to logon, they all left cause the ATM seemed it hanged. I guess it's either a glitch or I press keys so fast that the computer couldn't keep up with me and caused a buffer overflow or something. Since the ATM was then rendered useless, I felt more comfortable that if I can't access the ATM, no one can... until authorities reboot or fix the machine.

So make sure you check that you're properly logged out after your ATM transactions just to be on the safe side.

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