You can still withdraw cash, even if you don’t have a debit or ATM card. How you’ll do so depends on a couple things. One is whether your bank offers a cardless ATM that you can access. Another is whether you have a bank account. To withdraw cash without a bank account gets a little more complex, but it can still be done. Read this article to learn more.
Traditionally, if you wanted to get cash from an ATM, you needed an ATM card or a debit card linked to your bank account. Now, however, there are other options. People without either of these cards can still withdraw cash. There are many ways to do this — some involve digital apps or prepaid debit cards. Others involve different ways of getting cash from your bank account.
In this article, we’ll break down all of the different ways you can get cash without a debit or ATM card. We’ll also explain these methods in terms of what you can do with or without a bank account.
Throughout the article, we’ll use the terms “ATM card” and “debit card” interchangeably. ATM cards are less common these days and can do fewer things. But as far as withdrawing cash from ATMs goes, debits cards and ATM cards work the same way.
Methods that require a bank account
We’ll start by going over some ways to withdraw cash without debit cards that still require a bank account.
You can think of these alternatives in one of two ways. First, you can consider them time-saving alternatives to taking out your debit card. Second, you can look at them as a way to withdraw cash if you’ve lost your ATM card or left it somewhere.
Withdraw cash from a cardless ATM
You may be fortunate enough to have access to a cardless ATM. This will depend on what bank services your checking account and where you live.
As the “cardless” name suggests, you won’t need to insert your debit or ATM card to withdraw cash. Instead, some of these machines use a QR code that you can scan with your phone to unlock your account. This requires you to use your smartphone’s camera and banking apps.
Other cardless ATMs use a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC). To use these, you won’t need to scan anything. After following screen prompts, you just hold your phone close to the ATM until your account unlocks. Think of this as a variation on Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. With these apps, you hover your phone, watch, or another device over the reader to make a payment. With NFC ATMs, you do the same to get cash.
Depending on the type of ATM, you may still need to enter your PIN. But most people think being able to withdraw cash with a phone or a watch is a wonderful development. This ability will be spreading to more cities and states in the near future.
The technology and convenience of cardless ATMs are fantastic. Still, there are some drawbacks.
- Ease of use: You are free to leave your debit cards at home and control everything right from your phone or other devices.
- Security: Cardless ATM transactions feature advanced security features like changing PINs and QR codes. These make it more difficult for someone to steal your information and withdraw money from your account.
- More Security: You don’t have to insert your card into a cardless ATM. This means criminals can’t use skimmers or other devices to steal your information. Everything that gets sent wirelessly is encrypted and highly secure. This is not to say that cardless ATMs are perfect. But they are certainly a step up from older machines in terms of security.
- They require a smartphone. If you don’t have a smartphone or equivalent device and want to withdraw cardless cash, you are out of luck. There isn’t another way to operate a cashless ATM.
- They’re not available everywhere. The technology is expanding to more states and cities every day. Even so, it is still not available in some areas or with some banks. If you want to know for sure whether or not a cardless cash withdrawal is available to you, check with your bank.
Use Cardless ATMs with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay
On select ATMs from some banks, you can tap your phone, watch, or other approved device to withdraw money. You don’t need a debit card or ATM card. One participating bank is Chase. ATMs offering this service will display the Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Google Pay logos.
Apple Pay and similar services use NFC (Near Field Communication, mentioned above). To use NFC in a cardless ATM you must download a mobile app on your mobile device then select your bank.
To complete transactions, you’ll need to enter your PIN as usual. Your payment app and NFC replace your physical card. They don’t replace your need to then enter your PIN.
Write yourself a check
Are you still looking for a way to get the money you need without a debit card, but you don’t have a mobile phone available? You could go the old-fashioned route and write yourself a check. Just make out a check to yourself for whatever amount of money you need. Then cash the check.
You might find this method tedious. This is especially likely if you’ve become accustomed to today’s technological conveniences. But it could be a good method to use if you lose a debit or ATM card or don’t have access to mobile banking or a cardless ATM.
Send money to a friend
If you are with a group of friends, your mobile wallet or banking app will let you send money to one of them. This means you could send money to a friend who could immediately withdraw it for you. Or, if your friend has cash on hand, you could borrow the money but settle up right away. No need for your friend to wait to get paid back later.
At least one of these, Venmo, is free to use. To get set up, you’ll need either a bank account or a prepaid debit card to link to. If you want to use a prepaid debit card, it has to be in your name. Once you’re a registered Venmo user with a linked payment account, sending money is easy.
All you have to do to send money to someone is direct your payment to that person’s Venmo account. (Your recipient must be a registered Venmo user.) You can find the person on Venmo by user name, phone number, or email address.
Access an emergency cash service
Some banks offer an emergency cash service. To use the service, you’ll need to contact your bank. Once you pass any required checks, your bank will give you a security code. They will either tell you the code over the phone or send it to your phone. You’ll use this code to make an ATM withdrawal.
Many banks providing the service only offer it when you report your card lost or stolen. Their service lets you withdraw cash to cover expenses while you wait for a replacement card. Other banks may allow you to access the emergency cash service if you just don’t have your card with you.
Withdraw money with a human teller’s help
Visit a bank branch and let the teller know you don’t have an ATM card. The teller will verify your ID. You’ll need a government-issued photo ID and may need to answer some questions. Once you’re confirmed, the teller will process your cash withdrawal.
In-person withdrawals do not fall under the daily limit on ATM withdrawals. Some banks may impose withdrawal limits of their own on certain types of accounts.
This method will only be available to you if your bank has physical locations and you’re near enough to one of them.
Methods that do not require a bank account
For one reason or another, you or someone you know may not have a bank account or any affiliation with a bank. Being able to get cash without a bank account is difficult, but not impossible. Here are a few ways you can do just that.
Use a money order
One way to get cardless cash without a bank account is to have someone send you a money order. Friends or family members sending you money don’t need bank accounts. They just need to go to a local merchant who sells money orders. Drugstores, grocery stores, the post office, and other businesses sell them.
People who want to send you money just specify the amount they want to send, then pay that amount plus an added fee upfront. The fee is usually just a few dollars. They then send the money order to you by post. When you receive it, you can cash it just like a check. (If you have a bank account, you can deposit it.)
Use a prepaid debit card
Prepaid debit cards are another way to keep your assets safe and get cash without a bank account. If you have a prepaid debit card, you may be able to use it just like an ATM card depending on the features of the card itself.
Of course, this only works if you have previously loaded the card with cash and have the prepaid card on you.
Western Union is a popular service with thousands of locations and millions of customers. It offers money orders and money transfer services through a few different channels. Some of these channels do not require you to have a bank account in order to carry out the transaction.
Let’s assume you are in need of cash and someone with a bank account is going to send it to you.
Friends or family members who want to help you out just needs to visit Western Union online or install the Western Union mobile app. After doing this and setting up a free account, all they have to do is:
- Fund the amount of money they wish to transfer
- Select a Western Union location near you
- Approve the transaction
Once the money is ready, you can head over to the location and pick it up.
People sending you money can follow the same steps over the phone with a Western Union agent. They can also do so with an in-person visit to the Western Union location closest to them. If they need to transact in cash, they can still send you money. They’ll just need to visit a Western Union location.
Keep in mind, though, that whatever method you use, Western Union does charge a fee for their services. Consult their website for the latest information to see if this is the right option for you.
Key points to remember
- You can withdraw money from cardless ATMs without an ATM card if your bank allows access to them.
- Cardless ATMs are safe, secure, and available in a growing number of locations.
- You can also request help from a teller inside a bank during regular banking hours.
- If you don’t have a bank account, you can use popular apps like Venmo and the Cash App to withdraw cash.
- Money orders are also a good option if you have someone who can send you money.
- Western Union is another viable option if you have someone who can send you money.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most common questions people ask about getting cash without a debit card or ATM card.
How do I add a card to my phone’s mobile wallet?
Download the mobile wallet app on a mobile device, and follow the prompts and instructions in the app. Depending on the bank, this usually only takes a few steps. Be sure to have your routing number, account number, and other bank account information ready. This will speed up the setup process. When done, you’ll be able to take advantage of app-based cardless cash options.
Can someone else pick up my cash from a cardless ATM?
Some banks offer shared accounts where you can add multiple authorized users to the same account. Contact your bank for more information.
What banks offer cardless ATM services?
A constantly growing number of banks are offering cardless cash withdrawals in a growing number of locations. Check with your bank’s website, mobile app, or nearest location to find out more.
If you want to be able to withdraw money without a debit or ATM card, you have various options. Some options involve mobile banking apps and your mobile phone. An app like Google Pay might also help you make that urgent cash withdrawal. You could also get financial assistance via money order or Western Union. And should you lack a traditional checking account, a prepaid card might get you the cash access you require.