Business Hilights

Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

CBN and banks

CBN mute as some banks’ reduce ATMs’ dispensable highest cash to N10,000

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…Complains of some banks deducting N65 from first withdrawal in a month rise

Since the first quarter of this year, there are strong indications to establish that several commercial banks in Nigeria have recalibrated their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to reduce their usual highest cash dispensable from N20,000 to N10,00, Business Hilights can authoritatively report.

Additional findings by Business Hilights also reveal that even though the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) granted the approval to charge N65 on any ATM card after the first three usage, some banks seem to be charging the fee from the first, second or third withdrawal on the surreptitious believe that account holders may not have time to find out or if they find out, complain after all.

However, several calls made to the corporate communications department of the apex bank on the matter failed to produce any response.

On why the practice has continued for too long without the apex bank’s intervention, a banking expert who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent “I have studied the circular authorizing the commercial banks to collect the N65 fee after the first five withdrawals by a customer and observed that there is a problem”.

“The circular or directive given to banks on ATM regulation failed to set limits of dispensable cash even though before the directive, N20,000 or in some banks, N40,000 had been their highest dispensable cash.

“Therefore, the window of setting any cash limit as any bank so wishes to a very large extent, empowered banks that are struggling to remain afloat to rip-off people withdrawing from their machines where they do not have account with them. Unfortunately, the CBN circular failed to block such lacuna, thus leaving the banks to decide on their own, how they will calibrate their machines in favour of their customers and agony of others not banking with them.

“The problem is linked to different payment applications deployed by banks and lack of their uniformity and sharing of information.

“I want to believe that from the time the policy was introduced, banks were not ready to deploy the needed application that will have a correct calculation of number of usage of a customer’s ATM across other banks’ ATM machines.

Another IT expert revealed that “network issues have a hand in the crisis and because banks are apparently at advantage on the illegal deductions of the N65, they are less concerned on deploying the right application to right the wrong”.

Currently, Nigerians find it hard to use their ATM cards on other banks other than their own bank to avoid being ripped off.

Some of the customers, who spoke to our correspondent on Monday, said they now dread making withdrawals from other banks’ ATMs due to the continued deduction of N65 for such transaction as the CBN seems not ready to rescue them.

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