Wednesday, September 03, 2008

ATM rant

why don't american ATM machines give back your card before releasing the money. in some countries (e.g. israel, estonia, latvia and lithuania) dealing with an ATM machines goes in this order:

(1) put the card in the machine,
(2) punch in your code and tell the machine what you want,
(3) the machine returns your card, and
(4) then gives you the money.

in the u.s. steps #3 and 4 are often reversed, so you get the money before the machine releases your card at the end of the transaction. it seems like those other countries have developed a common-sense way to prevent customers from forgetting about their bank card back and wandering away before the machine gives it back. no one will leave before they get the money. but once you get the cash, it's quite easy to start thinking about the next thing you have to do, forget that you need to wait for the card and run off to the next place you have to be. (we've all done stuff like that before).

obviously i'm only thinking about this today because i stopped at the ATM machine this morning and i just got back from israel a few weeks ago. sometimes i wonder why the u.s. isn't better at ripping off good ideas from other places. [and no, i didn't forget my card today]