The implementation of a N65 charge on remote-on-us ATM withdrawals recently announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will commence today. Remote-on-us are transactions done by a card holder on another bank’s ATM. Although some bank customers have expressed displeasure over the policy, the central bank had explained that it would, engender competition among banks. According to the central bank, the new charge shall apply as from the fourth remote-on-us withdrawal (in a month) by a cardholder, thereby making the first three transactions free for the cardholder.
Prior to the amendments in December 2012, the charge used to be N100 on any remote-on-us withdrawal. But the N100 was removed then so that people would be encouraged to use ATMs, it had explained. The CBN also stated that the policy would ensure that customers get better services from banks. According to the central bank, transaction volumes at other banks’ ATMs increased astronomically due to the free cash withdrawal at ATMs. “The wear and tear as well as the frequency of servicing the ATMs has increased significantly. Indeed, some customers were beginning to abuse the use of ATMs through countless withdrawals.
“This development has led to increase in cash transactions, which negates the bank’s cashless policy,” the CBN argued. Furthermore, the banking sector regulator argued that maintaining ATMs is expensive as it requires economic incentive for owners to deploy and maintain the facility. To the Deputy Managing Director, Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, the fee introduced would encourage people to conduct banking transactions through other channels, such as mobile money and point of sale terminals (PoS).
According to Dozie, the decision was taken because it was discovered that as a result of the removal of the charges on withdrawals from other banks’ ATMs in 2012, a lot of pressure was being put on the ATMs mostly by customers withdrawing very little amount of money.
“The justification for the policy is to drive people to use other channels such as mobile money, internet banking and PoS,” he added.
On his part, the Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismark Rewane, said the ATM charge was appropriate.