How To Hack ATM’s For Free Cash (No Tools Required)

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WARNING: ATM hacking is illegal in all countries & is nothing but hi-tech bank robbing. If you choose to engage in such activities, you deserve the full force of the law.

The purpose of exposing this hacking technique is not to encourage thieves but to persuade banks to improve security. Ironically, this hack takes advantage of a security feature that is designed to protect our cash in case we are being mugged at the ATM, or we just forget.




Precaution 1: Most ATM’s are covered by CCTV. The thief will therefore have his face covered.

Precaution 2: The thief will have to wait about 20 seconds (which can seem like an eternity when in a rush) and the ATM may make some noise thereafter. The best time to attempt this hack is therefore at night, when there is nobody around. Remember, most ATM’s are accessible 24 hours a day.

Precaution 3: Obviously the thief will need to know the pin number. This hack is not about hacking the pin. The thief can use their own credit card, at least once.

Precaution 4: The thief must ascertain whether the bank operates a ‘cash retraction/retention policy’ for their ATM machines. Most banks do have such a policy.


The Technique

Step 1: The thief uses an available credit/debit card (preferably with a large withdrawal limit) and selects the option to withdraw a specific amount of cash. The greater the number of notes the thief withdraws, the easier step 2 becomes. The card is returned and the cash is released into the cash dispenser.

Step 2: This is the critical point. Calm and have steady hands are important: The thief holds firm of the top or bottom few notes of the cash pile (with a slight push into the dispenser) with one hand and with the other hand, slide- pulls the remaining (larger pile) of cash from the dispenser.

Step 3: If the thief has successfully managed to keep a few notes in the cash dispenser, he has to about wait 20 seconds. Warning: The ATM machine may make a few noises. But after the elapsed time, the ATM will take the remaining cash back into the ATM.

Having assumed someone is attempting to mug the thief, the ATM takes the cash back and cancels the entire transaction. ATM’s can count the cash out but can’t count the cash back into the machine.

If the thief chose to withdraw $500 and retain $50 within the ATM, the bank will cancel the entire $500 transaction. And the thief will have pocketed $450 of ‘free cash’.


There are a couple things banks can do to improve their security. If machines can count cash out, they should be able to count incoming cash from the same cash dispenser. Or banks can disable the automatic cash retraction policy and have the account holder come in to the bank to make a claim.

Some banks (such as RBI in India) have cancelled their cash retraction policy, altogether.

But banks in the UK appear to be moving in the opposite direction. In the past, banks such as HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Tesco Bank held on to retracted money in reserve until the account holder made a claim.

Barclays Bank plc and Lloyds TSB Group have an automatic cast re-crediting policy, as do Santander but only if the account holder is a Santander customer.

It is time for banks to improve their ATM technology so the cash can be counted back into the machine.


20 thoughts on “How To Hack ATM’s For Free Cash (No Tools Required)

    thoko kabango said:
    November 13, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    teach me more

    […] This is an update on a security loop-hole in ATM machines that is designed to protect your cash in case you are mugged while withdrawing your funds or if you just forget to take your money. The so-called ‘cash retraction policy’ hack. […]

    arivazhagan said:
    December 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    plese help

      fd720 responded:
      December 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Help with what, exactly?

    john said:
    December 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    teach me more about john osu zenith bank account

    MKS said:
    December 12, 2013 at 10:37 pm


    valentino said:
    January 11, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    my bank is santander.. so this means i cant do this trick?

    Farhad Dalvi responded:
    January 11, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Nobody is recommending you try this, least of all me. It is illegal. My article is to highlight a security failure.

    Santander were operating a cash retraction policy up till mid 2013. There has been no report that they have stopped this policy in 2014.

    This means a theif could try this technique by withdrawing the full amount their card allows (e.g. £250) and leave £20 in the machine. If the technique doesn’t work (ie there is no automatic refund), the thief would only lose £20.

    The bank may still refund the full £250 if a complaint is registered.

    tyron said:
    April 15, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    So, let me understand: i order to the atm to withdraw 500 U$ with my own card right? i make the whole operation and when the atm gives me the 500 U$ i pick up 450 U$ and leave in the cash dispenser the 50 U$ right? The cash dispenser suck the 50 U$ into the atm and cancel automatically the transaction????Is it?

      Farhad Dalvi responded:
      April 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Yes. The transaction will automatically cancel if the bank operates a cash retraction policy for their atms, as they do in the uk. Some banks may require an application process, after which they should refund your account.

    Tyron said:
    April 16, 2014 at 8:16 am

    How i know if the bank operate with a cash retraction policy for their atms? how they refund my account if the transaction is cancelled?It means they know somebody made an operation with that card but probably it didn’t work is it? Thanks again for the reply

    Edward said:
    July 6, 2014 at 9:23 am

    pls to get the blank atm card the cost ranges from $300 to $550 and you should be 18yrs and above am in fl fort percie and it works all over the world.for more information email me on pls only serious people and payment is made through western union thanks.

    Edward said:
    July 6, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Omg Edward thank you very much since I bought the card things work perfectly I recommend everybody should contact Edward for the BLANK ATM CARD.Edward thank you.

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      July 6, 2014 at 9:55 am

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    tyron said:
    October 23, 2014 at 8:48 am

    By the way regret to inform Farhad your system in Italy ATM does not work at all!!!!!!!!!If you have some more useful suggestion feel free to mail me privately

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