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Saturday, August 22, 2009

RBI ends ATM comfort

Mumbai, Aug. 21: Barely five months after the service charge on using automated teller machines (ATMs) of other banks was scrapped, it will be re-introduced if someone uses this facility more than five times a month, a high-ranking banking sector official said here on Friday.
The Indian Banks Association (IBA), the representative organisation of private and public sector banks in India, has proposed that instead of allowing an unlimited number of free transactions at another bank’s ATM, there should be a limit of up to five free transactions a month.
"Beyond five transactions, we propose to levy a transaction fee of Rs 20 per transaction for using another bank’s ATM," said the IBA deputy chief executive, Mr K. Unnikrishnan.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has accepted the IBA proposal, but it will be implemented only by October, Mr Unnikrishnan said on Friday.
A RBI spokesperson confirmed the development.
"It will be optional on the part of the banks to levy this charge on customers. We have not made it mandatory but left it to their (banks’) discretion," the official said.
He explained that since the RBI’s permission has been taken, it would not be improper on the part of banks to levy the charges if they wanted.
There are a little over 40,000 ATMs in India, of which nearly 30,000 are in urban centres and metros. The remaining 10,000 are in semi-urban centres with only a sprinkling in rural areas.
There are around 80 state-run, private, cooperative and foreign participating banks in the ATM network in the country.
After the ATM transactions fees on using other banks’ ATMs was scrapped in April, the IBA studied the entire gamut of ATM transactions. "We found that a majority of the ATM transactions were in the range of average withdrawals of Rs 3,500-4,000, and 90 per cent of all transactions were bel-ow Rs 10,000. Hence, the intended purpose to serve the common man was ach-ieved," he said. — IANS

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