With effect from 1 September, 2014, Nigerians will be required to pay extra charges when they withdraw money from Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, other than the bank they have an account, this is according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. The CBN had on Wednesday, 13 August, 2014, announced its re-introduction of withdrawals from other ATMs.
According to the statement released by the apex bank, the new fee to be paid is N65, a reduction from the N100 that was obtainable before 2012 when ATM’s fees was cancelled.4 Since the announcement of the latest CBN directive, Nigerians have continued to express their displeasure over the new move.
Though one of the reasons the CBN claimed necessitated the re-introduction of the ATM withdrawal fee was an attempt to stem abuse of the ATMs by some bank customers, however the decision does not seem to please many ATM users in the country.
Many of the users, that spoke with our correspondent in this report, groaned at the new development. They complained that the re introduction of the charges would discourage them from using the ATM while several others insisted on a total reversal to the ‘zero charges’ that used to operate in the country.
A chat with some financial experts in the banking industry on why the charges had to be re-introduced revealed that the move has been in the offing long time ago.
“The pressure was getting out of hand,” Julius Ogwu, a male banker with one of the new generation banks said.
“The ATM charge had to be returned because every bank had to bear the consequences of customers from other banks coming to withdraw from their ATMs,” the dark-skinned banker added.
Also speaking on the issue, Olaitan Omotosho, an employee of Fidelity Bank, informed that many factors were responsible for the return of fees on withdrawal from other ATMs.
Omotosho noted that banks in Nigeria had incurred losses running into millions with the initial scrapping of extra charges on withdrawal from other ATMs because of the rate at which Nigerians indiscriminately make use of ATMs.
He stated that, “the income from interbank transactions stopped coming in, and this is not healthy for our business”.
Another financial expert who expressed his excitement at the new directive was Caleb Odofin.
“Most bankers are excited on the new development because it means all the time, stress and energy we put into ATMs service we render to our customers will now be paid for.
“I know this is might be difficult for most of bank customers but it’s a welcome development because it would enable bankers to serve their customers especially those that frequently use the ATMs,” Odofin said. The CBN, while trying to explain her reasons for the re-introduction of the ATMs charges, stated that it would help to achieve its cashless policy.
The country’s apex bank also maintained that the extra charges on withdrawal is a practice which is globally accepted.
But to Famakinwa Tosin, a bank customer, “all those places in other parts of the world where there are charges on withdrawal, the ATMs are always working fine.
“Some don’t even have cash retract on their systems. So, anytime a customer tries to withdraw money and there’s a network problem, the money sticks there and it becomes an issue for you to get the money back.
“Personally, I am not totally happy about the charges being re-introduced but there is little I can do about it because it is a directive that everyone in the country has to comply with”.
Also commenting on the CBN decision is Tochukwu Nkwocha, a studen. He believes the ATMs charges will discourage many people from making use of the ATMs because, “they will simply ensure that they have enough money at home by withdrawing as much as they can in one attempt.