When the customer chooses a cash withdrawal from a credit or debit account using their card, the ATM asks them to choose an exact amount, to count and issue the money quickly. This process works thanks to a precise combination of more than 400 components that, in a perfect seven-stage process, completes the process to issue the bank notes:
- Customers use the keypad to enter the amount of cash they want (and in some cases they can even select the denominations and combinations of bills they would like to receive).
- Next, the ATM checks the customer's balance and then authorizes the withdrawal transaction as long as there are sufficient funds available in the account.
- Inside the ATM, cash is stored in a series of trays, which allow the bills to be made available to the dispensing mechanism.
- A complex gear system allows the bills to be taken from the appropriate tray one at a time.
- An optical sensor then checks the amount while also confirming that none of the bills are counterfeit.
- A small slot or door then opens and the cash requested is delivered to the customer.
- Next, the ATM asks whether or not the customer wants a printed receipt for the transaction, then after responding appropriately based upon the customer's response, it closes the process and disconnects the session.
Even though all of this is expected to occur over the course of just a few seconds, banks that operate ATMs must also ensure that enough time is taken to comply with the highest standards of quality. The various trays inside the ATM can hold up to 3,000 bills of various denominations, which means that a special emphasis must be placed on both precision and security.
Is an ATM safe? For the bank, it's very secure. While transactions are being carried out, full security is guaranteed by the use of a large safe and software that has been extensively tested (always under supervision). However, there are also situations where criminals have learned how to manipulate or alter an ATM in order to steal personal banking data. This means that if you notice anything out-of-the-ordinary when attempting to use an ATM, it is best to proceed with caution.