I attended a conference conducted by Bancnet last June 8, 2013 held at Marriot Hotel Cebu. Bancnet is the largest ATM consortium in the Philippines. Bancnet started as a company in 1987 and started ATM operations in 1990. Now, Bancnet has 108 member banks, 10,030 ATMs, 17,915 POS (Point of Sale) & 26.80 M cardholders.

I work in a bank and I handle ATM complaints in our branch. It is not easy facing raging clients who withdrew in our ATM (bank's). What's worse is that I couldn't give the undispensed money back because it's against the bank's policy. They will have to wait 5 banking days for the money to be credited back to their account if the transaction is proven as such. This conference really helped me a lot to understand how the ATM transaction flows at branch level, when data is transmitted thru Bancnet and when the data is transmitted to other banks server's and then vice versa. I was so overwhelmed with the information I got during the conference that I still have to re write my notes all over again as to not confuse myself where to start discussing. So I am going to focus on ATM Complaints, Inter Bank Fund Transfer and POS (Point of Sale).

Ever wonder what happens when you withdraw then cash isn't dispensed? I'm going to give you a sneak peak of an ATM transaction flow. 

Terminologies: [Issuer Bank - is the bank that issues the ATM card], [Acquirer Bank - is the bank that retrieves ATM card info and pass it on to Bancnet because data on your card couldn't be found in their host.] 

Here's an example of an ATM transaction flow.

Allied Bank cardholder --> China Bank Savings ATM (Acquirer Bank) --> CBS Host --> Bancnet --> AB Host (Issuer Bank)

Say you are an AB cardholder and you withdrew in a CBS ATM. Once card is inserted into CBS ATM it'll start transmitting data into the CBS host first. CBS host reads the data and identifies if the cardholder is their client. Since it is not their client, CBS host passes the data to Bancnet and first identifies if it is one of their member banks. Allied Bank is a member of Bancnet so Bancnet forwarded the data to the AB host. Once AB host verifies the data that it is their client, the account is funded and debits the account it'll transmit back the data to Bancnet then to the CBS host. Unfortunately, China Bank Savings' (CBS) system was offline so the connection was cut off. So that's how the complaints are born and me in the branch braces myself for raging clients. =D Here comes the complaint: The account was debited and the cash wasn't dispensed.

What should you do?

> First complain to the Acquirer Bank (CBS) since it is where you withdrew your (un dispensed) money. The bank cannot give the money back because that's not how it goes and is against the bank's policy. 
> Details needed in filling out the complaint form: Your name, Issuer Bank, Acquirer Bank, Account number, Card number, Transaction date & time & your signature. YOU SHOULD OWN THE CARD eg. your NAME should be on the ATM Card & YOUR SIGNATURE! Why emphasize on this? Some clients complain even if "technically" it's not their card. For instance, the one who uses the card is the daughter of the "cardholder". In that case, let the cardholder (the mother) go to the acquirer and issuer bank to file the complain. 
> After filing the complaint in CBS, go to your bank of account (Allied Bank) and file also the complaint. 
The Issuer Bank also couldn't give you the money because again that's not how it goes. The importance of filing the complaint in your bank of account is that they would be aware of the transaction and when the banks' (CBS & AB) ATM Center starts to reconcile your complaint, it'll be faster and easier to pin point the transaction.
> Patiently wait 5 banking days for the amount you withdrew to be credited back to your account if the transaction is proven as such.

What I do at Branch level?

I am the one who faces clients with ATM Complaints and let them sign a complaint form. I also do reconciliation at branch level. I check the reports base on the information on the complaint form and forward it to our ATM Center. Our bank's ATM Center will be the one to contact the other bank's ATM Center for reconciliation which involves crediting back your account. ATM Centers aren't the ones who credit the account okay? They are the ones who coordinate with branches or banks so your complaints will be process and your money will be given back to you.

In cases of CARDS CAPTURED, you should visit the branch (where the ATM is situated or the bank owning the ATM) ASAP if you don't want your ATM card to be perforated! Please don't get mad at us upon visiting the branch if your card was already gone because it is past the retention period. Retention period for Bancnet and Express Net ATM cards would be 2 banking days from the date of capture. If your card was captured on a Monday, your card will be perforated on Wednesday. As for Megalink ATM cards, it'd be 3 banking days from date of capture. 

When you claim a captured card, please make sure IT IS YOUR CARD. Like I said before, your name and signature should be on it. ATM cards captured without name and signature at the back are perforated immediately. Please bring two valid IDs upon claiming because we will be comparing your signature on the ATM card to your IDs. I will apologize first hand that bank's couldn't release the card if it's not "technically" yours. I already sited an example on this. Not releasing your card without name and signature is also for the cardholder's security. 

I really hope this blog entry helped you and change how you view banks if your card or money are not dispensed or released. One more reminder, your money, card and transaction receipt is retracted back into the machine after 5 seconds. So chop! chop! in getting those okay?

Cards from VISA, MC, Diner's Club, Discovery, Union Pay and JCB, Inter Bank Fund Transfer and POS will be in another blog post. Thank you for the conference, Bancnet! =)

Imma sleep now! Cheers! =)