The Indian Banks’ Association is lobbying to make ATM transactions, including the own-bank ones, chargeable beyond five uses per month, in view of the rise in costs due to additional security measures being put in place following the Bengaluru incident where a person was brutally attacked at the ATM.
SBI chairman, Arundhati Bhattacharya, too, has backed the idea of charging customers for transactions, adding that a commercially-viable model is needed for ATM network expansion. Barring in a few states, ATM operations of SBI are making losses, she said. She did not name the states where the ATM segment is making money. She said that SBI cannot subsidise ATMs forever. However, while arguing for charging more and more, banks never provide any detail about how they are losing money and the costs and benefits of various banking facilities, especially technology-driven ones.
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A senior executive of a US-based multinational, Vikas Bhonsale, has fallen prey to debit card cloning and lost Rs1.30 lakh. His Citibank debit card was cloned and the amounts withdrawn from an ATM centre in Hyderabad. Mr Bhonsale got a rude shock when he received 13 text messages on his mobile phone, within a span of five minutes, informing him about withdrawal of Rs1.30 lakh from his account from an ATM. Mr Bhonsale immediately called up the customer care number of Citibank and asked it to block the card as he had not carried out the transactions. Police said the card had been cloned and used to make the fraudulent withdrawals. Under the current law, banks are not responsible for electronic frauds, even though banks set up the systems, hold custody of customers’ money and charge them for various banking facilities.