Long queues return to banking halls, as customers avoid new ATM withdrawal limits

Customers of various banks now prefer to withdraw cash over the counter in the banking hall to using Automated Teller Machines (ATM). This is because banks have reportedly reconfigured their ATMs to dispense smaller amounts of money, which is not convenient for the customers.

A customer of GTBank, James Moneme said that he had gone to withdraw N150,000 at a Polaris Bank ATM only to discover that the ATM pays only N10,000 at once.

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“I withdrew N10, 000 up to 10 times before I could withdraw N100, 000 before 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,” Moneme said.

Fatima Wasiu, another customer was quoted saying, “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.”

Many other customers interviewed had the same complaint; they said that 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.

Banks’ way of escaping CBN’s new charges? Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria had 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, as Nairametrics reported.

The charges reviewed include ATM withdrawal fee from N65 to N35, card maintenance fee, charge for hardware token and bill payment via e-channels among others. The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Isaac Okorafor said that,Isaac Okorafor

 “reduction in the amount payable for cash withdrawals from other banks’ ATM (Remote-on-us) from N65 to N35, is after the third withdrawal within one month.”

However, banks have devised a means to exploit the customers and still be at the receiving end thereby defeating 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.

Speaking on the issue, the former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr Sam Nzekwe said that after the slash in charges, banks were looking for other ways to make more money because their profits were usually from charges as they were not lending out monies.

Solution given: Nzekwe said it was important 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.

The CBN had announced that any bank who do not comply with the new charges would be made to pay a penalty fine of N2 million. Hence the CBN should also look into this issue and monitor their activities if possible impose fines so as to act as a deterrent for others.

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