The Reserve Bank of India directive imposing restrictions on the number of times a bank customer can use Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of other banks free came into effect on Thursday.
According to the directive, customers can withdraw only a maximum of Rs.10,000 per transaction from ATMs of other banks. The number of transactions that could be conducted free would be limited to five a month. A sum of Rs.20 would be charged for every subsequent transaction.
The implementation of the directive resulted in customers, particularly those in the suburbs where there are not too many ATMs, raising a string of objections. Several of them said they used other banks’ ATMs for convenience and during emergencies. Mr. P.Kumar of Koyambedu said: “There are chances that the customers may not keep track of the number of times they used ATMs of other banks. Banks could put in place some system of alerting customers when they exceed the limit.”
Customers also said that as some banks have limited the maximum cash withdrawal to Rs.5,000 per transaction those in need of more money have little alternative but to use the ATM more than once in a day thus reaching the free of charge limit soon. People in the suburban areas said that most of them rely on the ATMs of other banks as their banks often do not have ATMs in their area, said Mr. T.Sadagopan, a consumer activist in Pattabiram.
However, officials of various banks in the city said the restrictions have been introduced to contain the number of transactions involving small amounts. Whenever a customer uses the ATM of another bank, his or her bank incurs interchange expenses.
Officials of the United Bank of India said it would help in reducing customer complaints of inadequate cash at the ATMs.
Indian Bank’s chairman and managing director Mr. M.S. Sundara Rajan said notices about the directive have been displayed in the banks. “People in suburbs may experience inconvenience wherever ATMs are less. Many banks have begun to reach out to such areas according to the demand.”