Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Problem of Off-line ATMs in the Philippines

Ever noticed the long queues at ATMs not only in Metro Manila but the whole Philippines during December besides the horrendous traffic on EDSA and anywhere there's a mall? It seems Filipinos have too much money to burn during Christmas that malls are filled to the brim with shoppers shopping as if there's no tomorrow.

The problem is amplified by the seemingly endless list of off-line ATMs of banks. Do you know the cause of the problem? It's just that bank ATMs cash are easily depleted these days that ATMs will display the ATM as off-line due to unavailability of cash while banks are not loading those cassettes filled with cash fast enough due to operational and risk reasons. This problem is worst at off-site ATMs (ATMs unattached to a bank branch) and those in shopping malls.

Other causes of off-line ATM are: power failure, ATM failure, communications line failure, ATM host switch failure and other IT problems.

In these times, many incidents of debit without dispense wherein an account is debited but no cash was withdrawn by the cardholder is rampant and may be due to the issuing bank problem, not the acquiring bank. It's thus best to try to transact at your own bank ATM to reduce the chances of debit without dispense, avoid transaction charges/fess and avail of higher maximum withdrawal amount per transaction (which is P10,000.00) for internetwork/switched transactions via BancNet, ExpressNet or Megalink.

In case of debit without dispense, contact your bank where your money may be debited back into your account after three banking days. Bank personnel always will check first any system error or reconciliation problems down to the ATM journal tape or records to know if your complaint is valid.

Related Post:

Philippine ATM Transaction Fees and Charges.


  1. It's one of the prices we have to pay for technology. But long queus and off-line machines are really annoying specially during weekends. Merry Christmas.

  2. An aside, the problem with long ATM lines is that some people use ATM as their "pocket". They withdraw pocket money worth P200 to P500. Kaya ayan, pabalik-balik sila. But this of course, is not the reason why ATM's run out of cash. It's simply the bank's erroneous withdrawal forecast. Well, they don't want people to just keep on withdrawing money from them, right? :)

  3. lawstude, annoying really. i don't mind sincei don't have anything to withdraw :P

    abaniko, count me in as one of the people who treat ATM as wallet.You're right for pointing out banks also don't want to let go of cash

  4. Am still in limbo between my bank (Unionbank) and the ATM I used to withdraw my pay (BDO-SM Sucat the one near Starbucks). P5000 disappeared debited from my account plus the P12 transaction fee last 28 Nov. The incident was reported within minutes to both banks, but now, almost two banking weeks later, BDO is saying the transaction does not show in their records. That's just great, they charged me P12 for a non-existent transaction. The case is still open though, I'm hoping I get my money back before Christmas.

  5. bambit, your transaction may have been debited at Unionbank but the acknowledgment didn't reach BDO, that's why they don't have transaction record. Unionbank should have it as well as the P12 transaction fee. Journal entries of BDO should be balanced. Unionbank will have to speak with BDO thru Megalink for this one.

  6. and it happened again. big toink for me for attempting to use a BDO ATM machine again, a different one this time, but no choice dahil wala namang ibang ATM machine dun sa Bldg B ng SM Sucat. I think BDO's got it in for me. Buti nalang maliit lang na amount, but DWD is DWD whichever way you look at it. hay naku ...