How do cardless ATMs work?

You can now pay electronically for most things, eliminating the need to carry cash. The mobile wallet on your phone can be used to replace payment cards and even for ATM withdrawals.

If you’re like most people, you take your smartphone everywhere. This could include short trips away from home when you don’t have a debit or credit card. Discover how cardless ATMs operate so that you can make your next withdrawal.


The Key Takeaways

  • With cardless ATMs, you can withdraw cash without using an ATM card
  • Many major banks, including Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, offer cardless ATMs.
  • Cardless ATMs use technologies such as Near-field Communication (NFC), QR Codes, and biometrics.

What is a Cardless ATM?

Cardless ATMs allow you to withdraw cash from the machine without having to insert a traditional ATM. This technology may make your ATM experience safer and quicker. With this technology, you can perform the same banking functions as with a credit card. This includes cash withdrawals, balance inquiries and more. 1

Chase Bank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are just a few of the major banks that offer this option. This isn’t only for big bank customers. Your local credit Union or regional banks may also offer cardless ATM withdrawals.


How cardless ATMs work

You can use your mobile wallet to access a cardless machine. For example, you might use Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. You may also need to download the mobile app of your bank or credit card company for cardless transactions.

Your mobile device will verify your identity, authorize the transaction and communicate with the ATM using a QR code.


Near-Field Communication

NFC allows devices to communicate with each other in close proximity by using radio waves. These waves travel only four inches, so the devices must be near. Your bank may instruct you to tap your phone at a certain location when using an ATM.

You can send information about your card by tapping your phone on the ATM. You can then enter your PIN, or authorize the transaction using other methods.



Wells Fargo debit cards include NFC so that you can use them at ATMs with NFC.

QR Codes and Other Verification Codes

You may need to prove your identity using more than an NFC card or device. In some cases the ATM will display an image of QR code which you can scan using your mobile device.



Bank accounts are protected by biometric security measures that use your body as a way to verify your identity. Facial and fingerprint recognition are the most popular biometric measures for phones. It’s wise to use a passcode or face verification to protect your wallet when you enable cardless ATM transfers (by adding a debit card to a mobile Wallet, for instance). You could, for example, set up your phone so that it requires a fingerprint to access your digital wallet.



Some ATMs are biometric-only, eliminating the use of a mobile device. They are more common outside the U.S.

The Advantages and Drawbacks of Cardless ATMs


    • You can also Secure
    • Travel light with this lightweight bag
    • Fasten your seatbelts


    • Not universal
    • Security issues persist
    • Compatibility


The Benefits of Using a POS System

  • Secure You don’t have to swipe your card and can’t accidentally lose it in public. If your credit union or bank doesn’t ask you to enter a PIN, then there is no risk that people will see your PIN. Or hidden cameras could capture sensitive information.
  • Travel Light: Your phone is all that you need, whether you have forgotten your cards or prefer to not carry them with you everywhere.
  • Fast Cardless ATM withdrawals save time and can be started before you even arrive at the ATM.


Explaining the disadvantages of a product

  • Not universal Cardless ATMs may not be available in all banks and may not be accessible by everyone.
  • Has security concerns: A lost phone can cause additional problems when money is involved. Keep your phone updated, activate all security features (like biometrics and two-factor verification) and inform your bank as soon as you lose it.
  • Compatibility The majority of modern phones are capable of handling the app for your Bank , and NFC when needed. In some cases, such as when you own an older phone model, you might not be able make cardless purchases.



Be sure to monitor your account. If you spot fraud or errors, notify your bank immediately. By acting quickly, you maximize your protection.2

What is the best ATM for you?

Cardless ATMs are a great option for those who like to carry as little cash as possible and don’t need it often. You can also reduce the risk that your debit card will be lost or stolen by using cardless ATMs.

Cardless ATMs are not available in all countries. You should implement strong security measures for your lock screen, mobile wallet and bank apps if you choose to go this route. If you like your current method of withdrawing money and don’t mind the thought of a dying phone battery, you can continue to use plastic.

the authorAaron Krause

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