A directive by the Central Bank of
The apex bank's
The ATM, jocularly referred to by some Nigerians as All-Time Money, is one banking innovation that has gained wide embrace by Nigerians due to its convenient use in withdrawing cash. Its significance is particularly underlined at weekends and public holidays when banking halls are not opened to public patronage and the machine becomes the readily easy resort for cash dispensation.
However, many users of the machine have been grappling with worrisome challenges that include trapping of the card in the machine, experiencing a damaged card and illegal withdrawals by fraudsters.
With the particular issue of trapped cards becoming commonplace and retrieval problematic, the CBN explained it had to come up with its new policy to protect the interest of card users. The bank's Director,
Fatokun explained how cards can be trapped in an ATM for various reasons. For example, he said, when a customer inputs his PIN three times and didn't get it right, the card can be trapped. It could also be due to the fault of the ATM or due to the nature of the card.
"When I mean nature," he added, "I mean maybe you sat on the card and it became bent and if you attempt to use it, it could be seized by the machine."
The policy has been eliciting reactions from the public and many card users are querying why they have to apply and pay for a new card for a problem that they say clearly didn't emanate from them. Though the CBN has explained its new policy was issued to protect the public from fraudulent activities that may occur in the process of returning the card to the user, many Nigerians still feel that rather than rendering every trapped ATM card unusable, the apex bank should favourably consider certain cases that could have arisen due to unavoidable cases like poor internet connection which could lead to the trapping of a card.
"My card had been trapped in the machine a number of times and each time it was returned to me in good condition, but this new policy is not a very brilliant idea in my opinion.
"It is enough inconvenience that the card is stuck in the machine because one cannot get money immediately one needs it, especially when you have nothing on you. God help you if the card is trapped on a weekend or public day(s) and you have to endure till the working days come.
It is very possible that in every 10 usages of the machine, your card will be trapped once. Does this mean that you have to keep going to the bank all the time to keep renewing your ATM card?" Sa'id wondered.
Oyekanmi Afolayan was bitter speaking with
"I went into the bank to tell them about it and they said it was a network problem and I should return the next day to collect it. Last week, one of my friends using
"This policy is not good because it is as if they are using it as another avenue to get money from us since they will deduct N1,000 from our account for a new card," Afolayan complained.
Not all voices were dissenting though. A businessman, who gave his name simply as Felix, said, "This policy is for security purposes and I feel that it is good. The issue, in my view, is that whenever you want to start using the ATM, you need to be well educated about it. Some people don't know how to use it; they are even not well-lettered about its operation. So you need to learn it well and get help first before using it."|
With the ATM becoming an indispensable banking instrument, Nigerians may just have to get used to changes on policies governing its operation.
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