Another local resident, who declined to be named, had a similar problem when a bank machine showed an "out of service" message when she tried to make a withdrawal.
Problems such as these with ATMs have reportedly become more frequent in the run-up to Tet (Lunar New Year), especially at industrial parks and export processing zones, according to the Commercial Joint-Stock Company for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank).
To prepare for better operation of ATMs during the holiday, the inspection and monitoring agency under the HCM City branch of the State Bank of Viet Nam said it would examine ATMs this week.
The inspections will focus on ATMs installed in industrial parks and export processing zones, where millions of workers are paid via cards. These machines often fall short of demand and regularly break down.
According to an official of the agency, the inspection team will make unannounced visits to the ATMs.
The agency will sanction any bank whose ATMs have problems such as running out of cash, inappropriate suspension of operation, and failure to maintain customer care service.
The agency has urged banks to ensure that all ATMs operate smoothly to have a sufficient supply of cash for their ATMs before, during and after Tet.
It also urged the banks to carry out timely repairs on ATMs as well as open new ATMs at busy spots.
The agency has asked the banks to ensure security for their customers by deploying guards at several "risky" locations and installing cameras in all booths.
Banks have also been asked to co-operate with local police to intensify patrols at ATM locations that are more vulnerable to theft and robbery.
Le Huynh Ha, manager of ATM customer service at Vietcombank in HCM City, said last week some businesses in industrial parks and export processing zones had advanced part of their salaries to workers, which had helped reduce the overload of payments made during the new year.
Many banks have recommended that enterprises begin to pay wages and bonuses now instead of making all payments before the lunar new year.
Ha said that many companies would begin paying wages and bonuses for workers 10 days before Tet.
Banks have prepared personnel and cash to ensure sufficient supply of cash and smooth operation of ATMs during the holiday.
It is recommended that customers withdraw cash at other banks instead of the bank that issued the card as ATMs of many banks are now connected.
When customers see an ATM with problems, they should try another ATM of the same bank or other banks, Ha said.
Customers have also been urged to pay via credit or debit card instead of making cash transactions at supermarkets or shopping malls in order to reduce the demand for cash withdrawals at ATMs. If the customer's card is "swallowed" by ATMs, customers are advised to bring ID cards to the bank for cash withdrawals if the bank is still open before Tet.
Nguyen Hong Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam in HCM City, said the city would install an additional 162 ATMs across the city, two-thirds of which would be in industrial parks and export processing zones.
Commercial banks in HCM City said they would have personnel to resolve simple problems arising during the holiday. Complicated issues must be resolved on the first working day after the holiday.