Why won't my visa debit card let me take money out of the ATM?

Written by bryan berg
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Why won't my visa debit card let me take money out of the ATM?
You will be left stranded if your card packs up. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Under most circumstances, a Visa debit card is a useful tool, allowing you to withdraw money all over the world. The ease of instant access to cash has rendered brick-and-mortar banking locations virtually obsolete. However, under some circumstances, you may not be able to obtain the cash you need using your Visa debit card.

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Debit card basics

Your debit card is a real-time link to your current account at your bank. Many banks, such as TSB and Lloyds Bank, use Visa debit/check cards. If you have a Visa debit card, you can use it anywhere the Visa logo is displayed. If you're at a shop and it takes Visa cards, you can use your card as a credit card to pay for your purchase. If an ATM takes Visa, you can use your Visa debit card to withdraw money.

Insufficient funds

The most common reason why you wouldn't be able to use your Visa debit card to withdraw money is that you have nothing available to withdraw. Unless you opt into your bank's overdraft policy, you won't be able to overdraw your account at the ATM. Instead, your request for funds will be declined. Be sure that you have sufficient funds in your account; if you have some money but less than £13, you can always buy something small at a shop and get cash back by using your PIN number.

Daily limit exceeded

You can have plenty of money in your current account, but if you've exceeded your daily transaction limits, your Visa debit card won't help you. According to the Visa website, most banks limit your withdrawal amount to £650 per day; some banks also institute daily spending limits. These limits are meant to protect you from fraudulent activity, but these limits can also be a nuisance as you attempt to withdraw money.

Number of withdrawals exceeded

Just as your bank may limit the amount of money you can withdraw, banks can also limit the number of times you can use the ATM in a day. Even if you're nowhere near your daily money limit, the bank that issued your Visa debit card may choose to cut you off from using the ATM after a predetermined number of transactions, which is usually three. However, this doesn't stop you from making purchases with your Visa debit card, nor does it prevent you from getting cash back with a purchase you make with your card.

Fraud monitoring

Many banks that issue Visa debit cards monitor their customers' accounts to minimise the chance of fraud. If your bank has reason to suspect your card's security may be at risk, the bank may choose to freeze your account temporarily and attempt to contact you to verify your use of the card. Potential red flags that can cause your bank to suspect fraud include using your card in unusual locations and spending outside of your usual pattern, such as a large purchase. To avoid these debit card holds, notify your bank in advance if you're going on holiday or if you plan on buying an expensive item.

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