CBN Reintroduces Charges on Cash Withdrawals on ‘Other Banks’ ATMs

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday directed deposit money banks in the country to re-introduce a charge of N65 per transaction on remote-on-us Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) cash withdrawals. The policy takes effect from September 1, 2014.

Remote-on-us are transactions done by a card holder on another bank’s ATM. The central bank stated this in a circular addressed to all banks, dated August 13,  2014. A circular of the document titled: “Circular on the Introduction of Fees on Remote-on-Us ATM Withdrawal Transactions,” signed by the Director, Banking and Payment System Department, CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, was posted on the regulator’s website yesterday.

The CBN in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee had in December 2012 transferred the payment of N100 remote-on-us ATM cash withdrawal transactions to issuing banks. This fee used to be shared between the acquirers, issuers and switches. However, on the commencement of the arrangement in December 2012, banks (issuers) decided to waive the issuer fee (N35), which should have ordinarily been an income to them. Consequently, banks only bore the cost of N65 each time their customers use another banks’ ATM.

However, the central bank explained that it took the latest decision as a result of the unintended consequences on banks. This, it said had resulted in substantial cost burden incurred by banks in defraying the cost for the service. According to the CBN, the re-introduction of the fee was to cover the remuneration of the switches, ATM monitoring and fit-notes processing by acquiring banks. “The new charge shall apply as from the fourth remote-on-us withdrawal (in a month) by a card holder, thereby making the first three remote-on-us transactions free for card holders, but to be paid for by the issuing bank.

“September 1, 2014 shall be the effective date for the implementation of the new fee,” it added. To this end, it urged banks to conduct adequate sensitisation of their customers on the policy.

“All ATM cash withdrawals on the ATM of issuing banks shall be at no cost to the cardholder,” it explained.

Meanwhile, in a separate circular on the review of the operation of the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) system and other electronic payment Options with similar features, the CBN expressed its preparedness to further strengthen the risk aversion measures put in place for the operations of the NIP system and other electronic payment options. “The CBN has directed the categorisations of online transfer from low security to highly secured transfer with specified limits. Banks are expected to achieve “Highly Secured Online Funds Transfer” status within six months, that’s, with a deadline of December 2014.

“Limits of N1 million (instant value) and N10 million (next day value) shall be applied for NIP and other electronic payment options with similar features, initiated by individuals with effect from 18th August, 2015,” it stated.