Director, Corporate Communications Department of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Ibrahim Mu’azu says reintroduction of transaction fees for the use of remote automatic teller machines is to ensure that ATMs across the country continue to function to the satisfaction of all bank customers.
According to him, customers were beginning to abuse the use of ATMs through countless daily withdrawals, a development that has led to increase in cash transactions, which negate the Bank’s Cash-less policy.
‘’The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has noted some public comments on its recent circular in respect of fees/charges on the extended use of other banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). These reactions have been mixed with most commentators showing great understanding and other stakeholders expressing clear lack of understanding of the rationale for this decision of the Bankers’ Committee,’’ Mu’azu said in Abuja.
He wanted bank customers to note that cash withdrawal at the ATMs of a customer’s bank will remain free of charge noting “Remote-on-Us” transaction is when a card holder goes to the ATM machine of another Bank other than his or her own bank to make a withdrawal.
Mu’azu explained that the N100 charge on “Remote-on-us” was never removed but only transferred to customer’s bank to pay in a bid to encourage/promote the use of ATMs nationwide in December 2012 by the CBN in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee.
However, having sufficiently raised customers awareness, the first three “Remote-on-Us” transactions in a month are will remain free for the card holder but paid for by the issuing bank while a charge of N65 will apply when a customer withdraws cash from another bank’s ATM other than that of his/her bank from the 4th transaction at another banks’ ATM in a month.
The director urged customers to note that the charge is not intended to discourage financial inclusion as CBN will not endorse any anti-customer policy.
He explained that charging of fees on interbank networks is a widely acceptable practice globally to ensure customers get better services; increase healthy competition among the banks.
Since maintaining ATM is expensive and requires economic incentive for owners to deploy and maintain these machines and transaction volumes at other banks’ ATM have increased astronomically due to the free cash withdrawal at other banks’ ATM, banks may be forced to reject transactions coming from their customers at another bank ATMs if a part of this cost goes unabated thereby frustrating the interoperability of payment systems.