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Things you can do with your ATM card
Prasanna Zore
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February 21, 2007

Thought that the ATM card in your wallet can only help you withdraw cash from ATM kiosks.

Well, the small, little plastic can do much more than that.

View account balances

You are on your way to a friend's house for a bachelor's party. Your wife or girlfriend calls you on your mobile. She has seen a pair of beautiful diamond earrings and wants to buy them. However, she is not carrying enough cash on her and needs you to chip in with some cash. Rs 2,000 to be precise!   

Tactfully, you tell her that you aren't aware if you have enough cash in your bank account. Smart that she is, she informs you that you can check in your account balances using your bank's ATM card and let her know. You can't escape this, can you?

Of course, you can always lie to her that there isn't enough cash. But you better don't because hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Dutifully, you obey her demand, visit the nearest ATM, insert your ATM card, and punch in your Personal Identification Number (PIN), select view account balance and bingo you find that you have Rs 10,000 in your account.

Without a second thought you withdraw Rs 2,000, call your wife/girlfriend, inform her that you have got the cash and can be delivered to her wherever she is. The party be damned!

Get mini statements

Mini statements are the shortened version of what your bank sends you after every three months. That is your bank account statement in short.

The bank can also provide you with a printed passbook detailing all the transactions you have entered into in a particular month.

But you hate going to your bank because of the long queues and pesky customers surrounding the bank's teller inquiring about their accounts.

Not a problem. Help is at hand. Your ATM card can be used to avail of mini statements on the go. These statements give detail about the last 5-6 transactions on your bank account.

Order a chequebook

You have applied for a two-wheeler loan and the bank that you have applied to for a loan is very close to lend you the amount you want. Suddenly you realise that you do not have enough leafs in your chequebook to give to the loaner bank as post dated cheques, PDCs.

You have taken a two-year loan and you have only ten leafs instead of the required 24. The bank's agent tells you that you can visit your bank's ATM and apply for a chequebook.

What's more the chequebook will be delivered to your doorstep in next seven working days, he assures you. And the agent is more than willing to come back again to collect the 24 PDCs.

Transfer money between accounts

You have two different accounts with the same bank, say, Bank A. One account is with the Borivali (let's say, account number A1) branch and the other is with the Nariman Point branch (account number A2).

However, your salary is credited in your A1 account and you have issued the PDCs discussed above on your A2 account.

Today is 3rd of March and the PDCs are due to be debited on 4th of every month from your A2 account. You wake up in the morning and realise that there are not enough funds in your A2 account to honour the cheque issued.

If the amount is not deposited on the 3rd the bank will not honour the issued cheque and a fine of Rs 225-250 will be imposed on your account for non-availability of money in your account.

What could you do in such a situation? Act smart, go to your bank's ATM, follow the procedure to transfer funds from account A1 to account A2 and rest in peace.

If you choose the option 'PAY NOW', the money will be transferred to your account numbered A2 before the 4th. Though all the banks may not provide this instant transfer facility make sure that you transfer funds into your account a few days prior to the date on your issued PDC.

The important thing to remember is that you need to have both your accounts with the same bank. You cannot have money transferred from, say, Bank A to Bank B.

Refill your prepaid SIM card

Modern-day technology has helped interconnect telecommunications with your bank account. Now you can even refill your prepaid SIM card at your bank's ATM.

Again you will need to punch in your PIN and the follow the commands that appear on the screen till the time you are done refilling your account.

However, do take care to remember the amount for which you need the refill. Your service provider should support the amount you key in.

For instance, your service provider is Tata Indicom and if you ask for a refill of Rs 350 the transaction won't go through as they have a refill denomination of Rs 356 and not Rs 350.

Pay your utility bills

This is one facility that helps you cut through long, serpentine queues.

Be it your electricity bill, phone bill, insurance premium payment, cooking gas bill (if you are consuming piped gas) and credit card bills. Your magical ATM card will help you make payments on all these consumer services.

Just find the nearest ATM kiosk, be ready with your PIN and you won't have to spend hours standing in the scorching sun to make your utility bill payments.

Deposit cash or cheques

This is what some conservative bank customers won't like. For years they have been visiting their bank branch, meet the genial teller at the counter, deposit their cash or cheque, make some small talk and then go back to do their mundane chores.  

ATMs seem to have dispensed off with this old-world charm thing as well. In fact, many a time you will find your bank encouraging you to avail of these services using your ATM card.

However, those still romancing the old ways of banking and those who think that banking is all about people and relationships can visit their bank's branch, meet the bankers they know and avail of most of the services mentioned above.

ATM cards as debit cards

This is one facility that spendthrift consumers should surely avail of.

If you think that credit cards are a strict no for you and you have enough cash in your bank account then you can always flash your ATM card to buy that lovely gold ring for your boyfriend or husband.

Nowadays, most ATM cards act as debit cards by default.

The transaction process works exactly like how you use your credit card. The only difference being the use of debit card at a merchant's outlet will make you poorer by the transaction amount immediately.

But then, this is always better than using a credit card considering the amount of complaints you may have against your credit card company.

Apart from these, plans are afoot to help you book your air tickets and rail tickets using your ATM.

If and when this happens, your bank's ATM centre will become a one-stop shop for a host of your needs that will not only save your precious time but can also change your lifestyle completely.

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