ECONOMY · FINANCE

ATM Withdrawals Threatened As Customers Now Prefer Counter Withdrawals_Ehiabhi Eugene

Banks are now attending to long queues in the banking hall as more customers prefer withdrawing cash from the counter to the Automated Teller Machines, investigation has revealed.

Some customers who spoke with our corresspondents said they preferred to enter the banking hall for withdrawals because the banks had reconfigured their ATMs to dispense smaller amounts of money not convenient for them.

They also said withdrawing money at the ATM was no longer fast because they would have to repeat the same transactions several times before they would get the amount they needed.

A bank customer, James Moneme, said, “I went to a Polaris Bank ATM to withdraw N150,000 with my GTBank card but the ATM had been configured to dispense only N10,000 at once.

“I withdrew N10, 000 up to 10 times before I could withdraw N100, 000 after which the ATM stopped dispensing cash. It was time wasting.

“I had to go and look for a GTbank and entered the banking hall and used my ATM card to withdraw the remaining N50, 000 from the PoS over the counter.

“If I knew I would still have to go the bank, I would not have wasted time withdrawing 10 times from the ATM machine.”

Another customer, Fatima Wasiu, said, “If you are not patient, you cannot be waiting at the ATM because you have to stay longer on queues at the ATM to withdraw cash. You will just be watching those in front of you withdrawing several times before it gets to your turn.

“Yet, the banks will still charge you more for withdrawing many times from the ATM after they reconfigured their ATMs to dispense less cash. Now, I prefer to enter the bank and withdraw my cash from the counter.”

In December, in furtherance of its quest to make financial services more accessible and affordable to various stakeholders in the economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria reviewed downward most charges and fees for banking services as contained in the new guide to charges by banks, other financial, and non-bank financial institutions, with effect from January 1, 2020.

The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, said that part of it was the, “reduction in the amount payable for cash withdrawals from other banks’ ATM (Remote-on-us) from N65 to N35, after the third withdrawal within one month.”

But to defeat the essence of the regulator’s slashed charges, many banks reconfigured their ATMs to dispense not more than N10, 000 only at once, which eventually returned the charges on the customers.

A former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr Sam Nzekwe, said this ATM’s inconvenience would make people to go back into the banking hall to withdraw money.

After the slash in charges, he said the banks were looking for other ways to make more money because their profits were usually from charges as they were not lending out monies.

He said it was cogent for the CBN to monitor banks’ activities properly because they had the tendency to make money for the customers at every slight opportunity by slamming charges on them.

Punch

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