ATM cards left in machine

I like to think I’m not the only person who has left my ATM card in the machine. For anyone who can relate, you know it’s a terrible feeling.
The worst part is the embarrassment from screwing up a simple process. The process looks like this:
In the world of processes, this is pretty simple! However, even this simple process has a flaw that customers can easily fall victim to. Namely, the “remove card” step can be easily skipped if the customer is distracted, in a hurry, or drunk. (Just keeping it real)
I have some great news; it seems this problem may have been permanently solved. At a Citi Bank ATM the other day I completed the cash withdrawal process as normal, only I noticed they changed the process’s sequence to look like this:

In addition to moving the card removal step in front of the cash removal step the machine will not dispense cash until the card is removed. The Green and Black belts reading this will recognize this added feature as a Poke-Yoke (mistake proofing). To get the cash, you must remove the card – this is a great example of process improvement.

Focus on the process, not the shortcomings of people.

From the banks point of view this also saves money – fewer employee hours spent working with customers wanting their cards back. It also increases ATM availability for other customers and improves overall customer satisfaction. Win-win.

I’m not sure if this is widespread yet, but next time you use an ATM notice the process sequence. Yes, I see processes and opportunities everywhere…it’s a bit of a curse.

So the next time it is 3:00am and your withdrawing $20 at an ATM next to a taco bell, rest assured your ATM card will be in your pocket when you wake up the following afternoon.