Texas ATM begins spitting out $100 bills, sparking fight

Lucky Bank of America customers told to keep cash after machine hands out ten times requested amounts

Tom Barnes@thomas_barnes
Tuesday 27 November 2018 14:41
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Bank of America ATM gives out $100 bills by mistake

The conventional wisdom usually suggests anyone expecting to get money for nothing will end up bitterly disappointed.

However, for a few short hours, bank customers in Texas were able to do just that when a cash machine began mistakenly dispensing $100 bills - worth around £78 at current exchange rates.

Authorities said the Bank of America ATM, in Harris County just north of Houston, started spitting out the banknotes on Sunday evening every time a person attempted to withdraw just $10.

As word spread via social media, large queues began to form by the machine, leading, perhaps inevitably, to fights breaking out between some of those hoping to cash in.

The disturbances led sheriff’s deputies to later attend and disperse the crowd, before shutting the machine down, local news station ABC 13 reported.

It is not known how much money Bank of America lost during the incident, but the lucky few who made it to the ATM in time have been told they will not have to return the cash.

“This was an incident at a single ATM in Houston caused when a vendor incorrectly loaded $100 bills in place of $10 bills. We have resolved the matter,” the bank said in a statement.

“Customers will be able to keep the additional money dispensed.”

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Bank of America’s decision not to pursue those who took advantage of the error is an unusual gesture - some financial services firms in the US have taken legal action in the past over similar incidents.

In February this year, the Kansas-based Central National Bank sued a customer who it said withdrew thousands of dollars after discovering an ATM in Wichita was dispensing $100 bills instead of $5 notes.

The bank’s lawsuit claimed the woman was able to withdraw $14,120 (£11,000) in cash, when the machine should have instead given her just $1,485 (£1,165).

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