Bukola Idowu

Banks in Nigeria will today begin to charge customers N65 for using remote-on-us automated teller machines (ATMs) after the third of such withdrawals within a month, following the re-introduction of charges on the use of ATMs by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Remote-on-us ATMs withdrawals are withdrawals made from ATMs of other banks, not the one in which the account is domiciled.

Although customers had reacted negatively to the policy, the CBN has explained that rather than slowdown its cash-less and financial inclusion drive, it would promote the two policies.

Consequently banks across the country have begun encouraging their customers to use their own banks’ ATMs rather than remote-on-us.

The CBN had in the circular issued last week stated that the charges would take effect from September 1, 2014 (today).

With the policy, bank customers would not be charged for the first three transactions they make within a month on ATMs that do not belong to their banks, but would be charged N65 per transaction for every other transaction after that, except the withdrawals made on the issuing bank’s ATM.

According to the CBN, the cost of ATM transactions which had been borne by the banks since the N100 charge was cancelled would now be transferred back to customers. The apex bank further explained that the unintended consequence of the cancellation of the N100 fee had led to the reintroduction of the charge.

CBN director, Banking and Payment System Department, Mr Dipo Fatokun, noted that “Between 2012 and recently when the review was done, it was discovered that people have actually turned ATMs into their personally purses because nothing is charged.

Somebody needs N500, N1, 000, he will go to an ATM to withdraw, such that in a day, some people can patronise ATMs up to five times,” he said.

According to him, this had created a huge cost burden for the banks that issued the cards.

This, according to him, was the major reason the central bank decided that even though remote-on-us would still be encouraged, a customer can go to other banks’ ATMs and withdraw up to three times and there would not be any charges. But the customer would be charged N65 when he makes the fourth withdrawal.