Bank Card Swallowed by ATM in China?

Whether through human error or mechanical failure, ATMs have been known to swallow bank cards. Luckily, this is largely for safekeeping, ensuring your card doesn’t fall into thieving hands. Follow the process below and you’ll get your card back with minimal pain (but a bit of a delay).

Bank Card Swallowed by ATM in China?


Step-by-step guide


If the ATM where your card was swallowed is attached to a bank branch, seek assistance from a member of the bank’s staff. However, you may need your passport or other ID to prove that you are the person the card belongs to. Other bank cards may not be enough.

Bank Card Swallowed by ATM in China?

If bank staff are unable to help, look for a five-digit telephone number on the ATM. This is the bank’s ATM service hotline.


Hotline numbers for major banks providing English-language services

Agricultural Bank of China: 95599

Bank of China: 95566

Bank of Communications: 95559

China Construction Bank: 95533

China Merchants Bank: 95555

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC): 95588


Call the hotline – most have an English-language option – and follow the prompts. Prepare your card number, name and passport number for bank staff to confirm your ID. Having the name of the bank and address of the ATM where your card was swallowed will also help the bank track your card down.

Call your own bank’s customer service hotline to report that your card has been swallowed. Your bank will freeze your account immediately, meaning nobody else can access your account.

Bank Card Swallowed by ATM in China?

Normally it takes three working days to recover a swallowed card. To collect your card, you’ll usually need to return to the branch the ATM is attached to. If there is no branch nearby the ATM, call the service line again to ask where you should go to collect your card. You’ll need to bring the passport you used to open your bank account (if you no longer have the original document, at least try to bring a photocopy – without this, getting your card back will be a complicated process).

Prevention tip

Some foreign countries’ ATMs will not dispense money until the card is removed from the machine; if you’re from one of these countries, make sure you focus when drawing out money – more than one visitor has walked away from the machine after taking their money, leaving behind the card.