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Banks to allow single ATM transaction for one PIN entry

New Delhi: Next time you go to an automated teller machine (ATM), be ready to re-enter your personal identification number (PIN) afresh for every transaction you wish to conduct, such as money withdrawal, balance enquiry and checking account details, reports PTI.

In order to check misuse of ATM cards by unauthorised people, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to allow only one transaction at ATM machines for one entry of PIN, which acts like a password for ATM transactions.

The transactions that a bank customer can conduct through the ATMs, by inserting or swiping the card and entering the PIN, include withdrawal of money, deposits, fund transfer, bill payments, checking account details etc.

Previously, customers were allowed to conduct multiple transactions through the ATM by punching in their PIN only once in a single session.

However, the practice was vulnerable to misuse by unauthorised people, especially in case authorised customers forgot to collect their ATM card after conducting the transaction.

There have also been cases when some people tamper with the ATM machines in a way that a customer cannot collect the ATM card after conducting the transaction. Once the customer moves out of the ATM machine thinking that the withheld card needed to be collected from the bank, the fraudster goes into the ATM and withdraws money as previous session remains active with the PIN already punched in.

Having received several complaints about the vulnerabilities of the existing practice, the RBI has asked the banks to make changes in their systems to allow only one transaction for every entry of the PIN.

Although, RBI had asked all banks to follow these guidelines with effect from 1 January 2011, some of the banks are still in the process of updating their systems with the required changes. In the meantime, the banks have started communicating to their customers about the changes in the way ATM transactions are conducted.

In one such circular to its customers, private sector bank HDFC Bank said: "As per RBI guidelines, you will need to re-enter your ATM PIN for every additional ATM transaction in a single session, with effect from 1 January 2011".

"Please ensure you enter the correct ATM PIN for every transaction to avoid any inconvenience," the bank said.

ATMs have become a preferred mode of banking transactions for both customers and banks, due to the convenience and cost-saving factors. The volume of ATM transactions increased from 17,797 lakh aggregating Rs4,38,151 crore during 2007-08 to 23,530 lakh aggregating to Rs6,16,456 crore during 2008-09, as per RBI data.

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