News Column

ATMs out of order, banks not heeding SBP directives

July 28, 2014

Almost all the commercial banks did not heed the directives of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to ensure uninterrupted working of automated teller machines (ATMs), especially during Eid holidays, majority of ATMs in various parts of the city were found closed or out of order on Sunday.

A number of consumers were seen visiting one outlet then another in desperate search for a working machine to withdraw cash as they had come to markets along with families for giving final touches to their Eid shopping, which was a day away.

Branches of almost all public and private sector banks at Bank Road, Adam Jee Road, Maal Road, Saddar, Murree Road, Chaklala Cantt, Fawara Chowk, Tench Bhatta, Chur Chowk, Misrial Road, Qasim Market and Commercial Market disappointed their consumers as they returned empty handed after seeing the message of "regret" displayed at ATMs screens.

"ATMs are considered to be a source of relief for the consumers in need of fast cash but they have in fact become a source of annoyance, particularly on the eve of Eid," said Shahzad Butt, a government employee.

Butt, who had visited ATM kiosks in search of urgent needed cash, said he tried several ATM machines in the city but failed to withdraw money.

Afzal Khan, another bank client, said people, especially salaried class, were the worst sufferers of ATMs frequent closure.

After the introduction of ATM cards, he said most of the people had developed a habit of keeping limited money with them as a safety measure with the understanding that they would withdraw cash using the facility in any part of the country on need-basis.

The customers have requested the authorities concerned to ensure proper maintenance of ATMs owned by public and private sector banks for uninterrupted service.

They said frequent and hours long closure of ATMs in the name of so-called "hardware maintenance and link-down" was a violation of the SBP instructions for keeping the cash machines operational round-the-clock.

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Source: Balochistan Times (Pakistan)

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