How to Use an ATM

By Patricia Bryant Resnick

Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) are a fact of life for most of us. Many of us never see the face of a human teller, conducting all our banking business online and via ATM. Still, there are many people who find an ATM intimidating, for various reasons. A little information ahead of time can help.

Things You'll Need

  • Bank account with an ATM card
  • PIN (personal identification number)
  • ATM
  • Deposit envelope (optional)

How to Use an ATM

Step 1

First, make sure you know your PIN (your personal identification number). This is the magic number that makes it all work. Your PIN is a security device that tells the ATM that this card belongs to you.

Step 2

Have your business organized before you get to the machine. If you are making a deposit, have your deposit sealed in the special envelopes that should be available nearby. If necessary, fill out the outside of the envelope.

Step 3

Read. Everything you need to know is available on the machine, either on the labels next to the buttons, or on the screen. Most screens have buttons at the sides, with the description actually on the screen. These may even be touch screen buttons.

Step 4

Insert your card. There should be a diagram showing you the proper direction for the card. Most machines will keep the card for the duration of your transaction, but a few will ask you to quickly insert and remove your card

Step 5

Follow the instructions from here. It will ask for your PIN, you enter it on the keypad, then you will be instructed to hit "enter" or "okay."

Step 6

You will be presented with various menus and choices. You will be asked which account you want to access, what transaction you want to complete, how much money you are withdrawing or depositing, and if you want another transaction. Just follow the steps and tell it what it needs to know.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do have your deposit envelope ready before you get up to the machine.
  • Don't hesitate to go in the bank and ask for help if you are confused by something to do with the machine.
  • Don't leave your card in the machine! (Yes, people do it all the time.)
  • Some machines will only give paper receipts if you specify it, so make sure you say yes if you want that.
  • Make sure you are putting your card in the right way.
  • Make sure you know your PIN. Some machines will keep your card if you get the PIN wrong three or more times.