The Reserve Bank of India has received the positive response from different sectors across the country over the suggestion of waiving off the fee on using ATM cards from other bank’s ATM machine for transacting money. The RBI has published the overall response on its official website on March 04, 2008.
RBI had asked the suggestion and comments from public, banks (both public and private) and Indian Banker Associations (IBA) to examine the issue of the usage and pricing of ATMs of banks within the framed time limit of December 24, 2007 to January31, 2008 after announcing this proposal.
However, Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his budget presented on February 29 had announced to ‘cut off all the imposed charges that bank asks from the consumer in the name of inter-transaction charges’ would be effective from April 01, 2009. The FM also announced the levied charges would be come down to Rs. 20 per transaction since new fiscal year.
According to RBI, “A number of comments were received from members of public, banks and Indian Bank's Association (IBA)” which RBI has published in the gist form that indicates, ‘most of the comments favour the decision of waiving off the fee.’ Here is the gist of the comments:
Comments from Public:
A large portion of the public is in absolute favour of making the service free and hope ‘the number of transaction would enhance massively’. Some comments were asking to implement this rule with immediate effect instead of April 01, 2009, but some of the feedbacks were also in the caveat form that warns, “Such a move of making service charges free may decelerate the deployment of ATMs by the acquiring banks.”
Comments from banks:
Most of the banks that have a strong network of ATMs have welcomed the proposal and assumes that this move would enhance the accessing of ATM facility by bank customers. But also warned to increase the chances of ‘money deficiency’ in ATM machines due to higher number of transactions. Some of the banks have suggested to free a limited number of transaction per month / quarter to escape this sort of problem. Only two banks have advised to impose nominal charges on money transaction.
Comments from IBA
Indian Bankers Association (IBA) has indicated that ‘banks are in favour of greater financial inclusion, fairness and transparency in levy of charges’ but can increase the problem of ‘no or less transaction.’ It has suggested that the number of free transactions at ATMs of other banks should be restricted to ‘two per month.’ IBA has also suggested that the minimum cash withdrawal in metro centres may be set at Rs.500 for account except no-frill accounts, while balance inquiry should also attract nominal charges.
IBA has asked to allow the third party’s advertisement at the ATMs to generate revenue for the banks. In other suggestions, IBA has asked to get permit ‘While label ATMs’ and cash transaction to be allowed at POS (Point of Sale) center to cut off load on the ATM machines.
However, RBI has rejected these suggestions after analysing it deeply, which it stated on its website.
According to RBI’s data statistics, there were 31,078 ATM machines across the India till October 31, 2007. The ATMs of a bank are connected to one another for providing account platform through ATM switches that include CashTree, BANCS, Cashnet Mitr and National Financial Switches (NFS). Besides this, most of the ATM switches are linked to either VISA or MasterCard gateways for honouring Debit / Credit cards issued under VISA or MasterCard affiliation.
At present, banks charges Rs.0 to Rs.57 per transaction as per banks own rules and regulations.
Read More: Chidambaram