Why Won't My Visa Debit Card Let Me Take Money Out of the ATM?

Debit Card Basics

Your debit card is a real-time link to your checking account at your bank. Many banks, such as Bank of America and Chase, 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 store and the store 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. New debit card laws enacted in 2010 mean that 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 $20, you can always buy something small at a store and get cash back by using your PIN number.

Daily Limit Exceeded

You can have plenty of money in your checking 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 $1,000 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 pre-determined 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 minimize 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 vacation or if you plan on buying an expensive item.