News Column

CBN Clears Air On 'Remote-On-U.S.' Policy

August 21, 2014

Chijioke Nelson

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has noted some public comments on its recent policy directive with respect to fees/charges on the extended use of other banks' Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), otherwise known as 'Remote-on-Us'.

The regulator had last week, reintroduced the payment of fee on cash withdrawals from ATM of banks aside from that of the bank that issued the card from the fourth transactions in a month.

In a statement signed by apex bank's Director of Communications Department, Ibrahim Mu'azu, CBN noted that the reactions from stakeholders have been mixed, with most commentators showing great understanding, while others showed a clear lack of understanding of the rationale for this decision of the Bankers' Committee.

"Our intention in this public communication is to further explain the rationale and the critical need for this measure, which has been taken in order to ensure that ATMs across the country continue to function to the satisfaction of all banks' customers.

"Cash withdrawal at the ATMs of a customer's bank is free. "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.

"December 2012, CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers' Committee, transferred the payment of N100 fee on "Remote-on-us" ATM cash withdrawal transactions to issuing banks.

"The N100 was never removed. It was only transferred to customer's bank to pay, and this was intended to encourage and promote the use of ATMs nationwide," the statement noted.

It however explained that the first three "Remote-on-Us" transactions in a month are absolutely free for the cardholder, but paid for by the issuing bank (the bank that gave the customer the card) at N65 per withdrawal.

"The N65 charge only applies when a customer withdraws cash from another bank's ATM other than that of his/her bank. The N65 starts to apply from the fourth transaction at another banks' ATM in a month.

"The charge is not intended to discourage financial inclusion as CBN will not endorse any anti-customer policy. Moreover, charging of fees on interbank networks is a widely acceptable practice globally," the statement said.

CBN pointed out that the reason for ATM charges was to ensure customers get better services and increase healthy competition among the banks

Also, the apex bank noted that transaction volumes at other banks' ATM have increased astronomically at other banks' ATMs due to the free cash withdrawal directive, while the wear and tear, as well as the frequency of servicing the ATMs increased significantly too.

It also noted that some customers were beginning to abuse the use of ATMs through countless daily withdrawals, which could be made by just once or twice

"This development has led to increase in cash transactions, which negate the bank's cash-less policy. Maintaining ATM is expensive and it requires economic incentive for owners to deploy and maintain these machines.

"If a part of this cost goes unabated, the banks may be forced to reject transactions coming from their customers at another bank ATMs, thereby frustrating the interoperability of payment systems.

"The CBN wishes therefore to reassure the public that the long term interests and welfare of all bank customers remain the goal of all banking policies," the statement added.

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Source: AllAfrica

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