Out of money, and of common sense

I think copying here the email I just tried to send my bank, “Bank Leumi“, would cover pretty much all the points I want to mention.

Identifiable information replaced here by asterisks.


I’m probably sending this to the wrong address, but the Leumi website did not have any more relevant contact address on it. This is also something you may want to attend to, for people wanting to contact the bank on something not directly related to the website.

Last night I was trying to withdraw money from the ATM machine on Leumi’s branch in *** (I think branch ***, but not sure) .

After inserting my card and typing my PIN the machine presented a list of option which did not include the option to draw money.
The main screens, before I started the operation, did not announce that this ATM is out of money. It wasn’t noted anywhere. Only in the inability to withdraw.

The ATM itself seemed to have been changed since the last time I used it to withdrew money, so I was concerned this may not have been a genuine machine, and wanted to contact someone to verify.

The main contact number printed nearby was the *** for Leumi-Call, which wasn’t working at this hour. There was another sticker with a number listed for use in “severe malfunctions” ***, so for lack of a better alternative I called it.

I explained the situation to the person there, who said that while he has no way to verify that the machine was not altered, the behaviour is normal for ATMs who are out of money. I double checked with him that the ATM indeed does not notify in advance that it’s out of money, and he confirmed, saying that it’s because they are used for additional purposes like checking the balance.

To be on the safe side I went over by the bank today. The ATM worked properly, and everything seemed to be in order.
The whole incident, however, left a bitter taste, and I have some strong recommendations:

1. Have the bank fronts provide a contact number which is more obviously fitting for cases like these. This should be on the bank, from the inside pane of a glass/transparent-door, so it will be obvious it’s a real number and not part of a scamming attempt together with a potentially false ATM.

2. An ATM which is out of money should always announce it on the display, *before* people enter their cards. Yes, the ATM has other uses, but they are comparatively minor, and are a lot less worrisome when not working.

3. If a customer is calling worried about a possible scam or false machine, you should have a way to check that. As far as I know all these ATMs are connected to some central computer, so there should be a log of activity. If the person I talked to would have told me that he sees a record of my card being used in the ATM I would have known for sure what was going on, instead of staying mildly worried till morning. And on cases of a real problem, someone then could have been alerted to it earlier.

Thank you, and awaiting to hear your reply,

P.S. On a non-related issue, but one that also deals with security, having the “information security recommendations” page on your website require running a Flash file is… counter-productive.

Not that the website issues are a big surprise with them, nothing much improved since the last times I actually tried to use their website.

Last minute update: I was just about to post this, when I got back a bounce message from the bank. I sent it to two email addresses listed on their contact page, one for support of their “direct surfing” service (which is basically the website), and one for support of their “premium service” customers.

The only addresses there were those two, and one for help with their monetary trades section, so these two seemed the likelier candidates.

Except that according to their mail server the premium address doesn’t exist, and cannot receive mail.

This is how you know a bank is serious. They treat their regular customers better than they treat premium ones. I love it.

I did send another mail to the first address, telling them about it. This time it’s actually well within the boundaries of what they’re supposed to deal with.

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