Home Reflections My Quest to Find ATMs With Cash

My Quest to Find ATMs With Cash

by Vidya Sury December 10, 2016 18 comments
My quest to find atms with cash Vidya Sury

Demonetization. The sound of this word brings on a shudder for most Indians ,and especially those who handle physical cash. You don’t even have to know how to spell it!

For, you see, just over a month ago, on November 8, our beloved PM made an announcement that made everyone ignore Trump’s win. He announced that 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes are no longer recognized as legal tender. The reason? To fight fake currency and black money in the system.

Overnight, my fellow country (wo)men were stuck with millions of currency notes that were no longer valid for use—but, we were allowed to exchange them for a limited period, or deposit them into our bank accounts by showing proof of our identities.

Easier said than done!

Now, I never thought I’d write a post about this, but considering that cash rules our lives, I thought I’d share my own experiences of how I am handling it, and what I am seeing around me. Is there a solution to this problem? Yes, and there is an app for that. But I’ll get to that shortly.

On November 8, my morning coffee sloshing around inside me, I toddled off to the nearest ATM, nice and early, and withdrew cash. My husband was traveling that afternoon and we needed money for various expenses, in addition to household expenditure. While I am a big believer of plastic, as it helps me budget better, plan my purchases and keep track, for certain things there’s no choice but to hand out cash. For example:

  • Buying flowers
  • Fruit sellers
  • Small grocery stores
  • The man who presses clothes
  • Local Street vendors

And so on.

So imagine our shock when we discovered that the freshly minted currency notes we had brought from the ATM couldn’t be used!

What to do?

Oh, we didn’t panic, because we are cool like that. After I bid my husband ta-ta and happy travels out of the country, my neighbour and I teamed up to take a walk around our area to find ATMs.

And I must tell you this, our area has one, every ten steps, literally. No lie!

But every ATM we spotted had queues longer than Hanuman’s tail. (Legend. Story. Will tell you later).

After checking around 20 ATMs—seriously—we decided we may as well visit our bank, which was just a 15 minute walk away. There, the situation was even worse. We couldn’t even see the entrance of the bank!  There was a sea of anxious faces.

Queues everywhere! Chaos, because nobody knew how to handle the situation. Suddenly, we were super conscious about the 100/50/20/10 rupee notes we had, and were reluctant to part with them. I admit I guarded the few I had like my life depended on it.

People queue up in front of an ATM kiosks in Bengaluru on Nov. 11, 2016. ATMs were reopened after two days and started disbursing new series of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes. (Photo: IANS)

And you know what? The medical store opposite my place laughingly informed me that just that morning, some of the residents from our condominium had urgently requested change for their Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes! Apparently they had heard about this forthcoming ban via WhatsApp and acted quickly before the formal announcement rocked our wallets.

To cut a long story short, the next three days followed the same pattern—trying to find ATMs with cash. The news headlines were all discouraging, showing news of how people were fighting ATM queues. Some were suffering heart attacks. The elderly were unable to take the strain and collapsing. Pregnant women were giving birth, waiting in line.  Moms were stressed out holding their children. Many were missing work.

To add to all this, my father in law had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. Cash was urgent!

My quest to find atms with cash Vidya Sury

Frustrated, I typed “Find ATMS with Cash”—because considering that there is an app for everything, shouldn’t there be one for this? It would be so timely!

The first result that came up was Money View.  It said “Find the nearest ATM or Bank – with Cash on Money View App”

My quest to find atms with cash Vidya Sury

I had an a-ha moment, because I have the Money View app on my phone! I had just not thought of checking it, what with ongoing family emergencies and all! Why, I’ve even reviewed the Money View app—India’s largest money manager.

Well, better later than not at all, eh?

Quickly, I pinged my neighbour, my partner in the “Find ATM with Cash” project. We eagerly explored this feature on the app and here is what we learned:

  • The app provides updated information on which ATMs near you have cash.
  • The app is constantly updated, thanks to the feedback of its user base of 5 million
  • We also found information about the nearest Big Bazaars, petrol pumps, banks, and Inox multiplexes where we could get cash. We were thrilled because we have all of these within 10 minutes walking distance.

Okay, now you’ll probably say, “I don’t use the Money View app. What now?”

I’d answer, “Check this link from your desktop computer: Find ATM with Cash  to find the ATM closest to you.” And please do download the app!

If you do use the app, please update it and click Find ATM with Cash before you go trekking to find one. Save time and effort–and frustration.

Considering that most of the ATMs are shut down in our area with “no cash” signs, and with the frantic scramble to find ATMs with cash still on, one can skip the serpentine queues by using the app to know which ATM has cash.


Cool eh?

And so, a month later, I have to say I am managing okay on the money front. With the cap on how much cash can be withdrawn per week, I’ve switched to cashless payments for most things. Even my local street vendors are using cashless payment methods and I feel happy to see them adapting to this huge change. Yes, change is always tough. If only better arrangements had been made before the ban was announced, things might have gone more smoothly.

Now–go on. Try this!

P.S.: You may want to follow Money View on FBtwitter to stay updated about what’s happening. Their blog has useful information, too.

So tell me – how are you handling your ATM trips? 

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MALINY December 11, 2016 at 9:55 am

Oh, demonetisation! The struggle has been hard, but I mamaged to have a few 500 rupee notes with me which I managed to convert into 100 rupee notes right after the decision was thrusted upon us. I am surviving with those and for groceries and food, I resort to supermarket where I can pay with cash.
Good to know about the app. I will download it and check it out.
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Vidya Sury December 12, 2016 at 11:08 pm

Hi Maliny! I’ve always preferred to use my card as it helps keep track of expenses. But obviously we need cash for so many things. 🙂 I think, compared to lots of people, we’ve managed okay. My heart goes out to those who don’t even have a bank account and depend on cash wages. Sigh. Thank you for coming by!
Vidya Sury recently posted…My Colorful Day with @BergerPaintsInd #BergerXp

Shilpa Garg December 11, 2016 at 2:10 pm

While we are changing the way we shop and are moving towards cashless transactions, but we do need cash for so many things. Find ATMs with Cash feature of the Money View app is just what we need to tide over these chaotic times.

Vidya Sury December 12, 2016 at 11:07 pm

True, Shilpa! It is not easy even now. Even when we find an ATM with cash, by the time 15 people finish with their withdrawals, the ATM is empty! Thanks for commenting! 🙂
Vidya Sury recently posted…My Colorful Day with @BergerPaintsInd #BergerXp

Roshan Radhakrishnan (@pythoroshan) December 11, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Wow. did not realize Money View had that option… it is a must-have in today’s India.
Struggling even today, a month after demonetization began. Hope FIL is better now – what was the situation at the hospital regarding currency?
Roshan Radhakrishnan (@pythoroshan) recently posted…Kiddo #FridayFotoFiction

Vidya Sury December 12, 2016 at 11:06 pm

Thanks Roshan–I too felt a little sheepish when I realized I had the app. And yes, things are no better even today–and looks like the PM has asked for an extension to “make everything okay”.

We had a tough time at the hospital since they wouldn’t accept the old notes, in spite of being told that hospitals would take them. Finally we managed to transfer cash to his account, go to his bank, wait in line and collect, because he was adamant it should go from his account. Stressful! Good thing is he’s back home. Not so great is the current weather situation with #cyclonevardah
Vidya Sury recently posted…My Colorful Day with @BergerPaintsInd #BergerXp

Sid December 11, 2016 at 7:46 pm

It’s pretty handy, isn’t it? I’m using it quite a lot too.
More on that, in my next blog post..
Hope your FIL is feeling better now – and yes, way to go before we stop looking for ‘change’
Sid recently posted…50 Shades of Fun : #BergerXP Indiblogger Meet

Vidya Sury December 12, 2016 at 11:03 pm

Hey Sid! Yes, thank you, my FIL is home now. Just feeling a little jittery over #cyclonevardah
I look forward to your post! The empty ATMs are playing havoc in lives!
Vidya Sury recently posted…My Colorful Day with @BergerPaintsInd #BergerXp

Anamika Agnihotri December 12, 2016 at 11:16 am

Your post has been a saviour for me this morning, Vidya. I just can’t thank you enough for the information about the app.

Vidya Sury December 12, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Thank YOU Anamika! I feel my mission with this post is accomplished! I enjoyed your Patanjali Pizza teaser! ♥
Vidya Sury recently posted…My Colorful Day with @BergerPaintsInd #BergerXp

Birgit December 13, 2016 at 6:22 am

That must have been extremely difficult and I’m not sure how I would be. My first thought were of the vendors you buy from and how they cope with this change. It seems like they are but I’m certain many do have a tough time.
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Ramya Abhinand December 15, 2016 at 11:47 am

The quest for money and demonetization woes are to continue for sometime I am sure. Most of the times, I lose half a day just figuring out where I could get that cash from.

Thankfully these apps serve as a big boon
Ramya Abhinand recently posted…Travel to Israel to Experience Happiness, Faith and Life

shubhangi srikanth December 16, 2016 at 11:36 am

Oh, that is cool! I didn’t even know..(Maybe I live in the stone age!) Thanks for that tip! Until now I have been living scavenging off change from appa and hubby….I have no idea from where they get it!

themoonstone December 16, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Hey,hope your FIL is doing okay. What a bad time to land up in the hospital ! Yeah, read abt the Money View App recently on Yourstory

Vidya Sury December 17, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Fil’s back home, Asha. Slow recovery. Seriously – and hospitals were not accepting old 500/1000 notes like they were supposed to! Yep-the MoneyView app is good!
Vidya Sury recently posted…My Colorful Day with @BergerPaintsInd #BergerXp

Shalini R December 21, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Oh, I can imagine the horror. Thankfully there were no emergencies or no traveling at our end and we could manage well. Except that I had to finally give the little cash I had ‘saved’ without my husband’s knowledge 😛
Hope your father-in-law is better now.
Shalini R recently posted…Exile : A Memoir #BookReview

Darla M Sands December 27, 2016 at 8:11 pm

How awful! In the United States, virtually the only transaction which requires either a check or cash is with my hairdresser. Working from her home, she does not want to pay the high fees credit card companies charge. I don’t blame her. And while I seldom deal with cash, the governmental urge to go cashless is slightly eerie. Nefarious agencies can so easily track everything we do through credit cards. ~shudder~ I wish you all the best, my dear.
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Vidya Sury December 28, 2016 at 12:57 pm

You know what, Darla? We’re still groaning over the demonetization because there’s a cap on how much we can draw from our accounts. It is ridiculous. And yes, corrupt people will continue to find ways to continue what they do, sadly! Hugs! So good to see you!
Vidya Sury recently posted…An Adrenalized Afternoon #HexaExperience


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