ATM Charges: Madras HC issues notices to RBI, IBA
Moneylife Digital Team 21 November 2014

The PIL seeks to quash recent circulars by RBI regulating the number of free ATM transactions in six metros from 1st November


The Madras High Court has issued notices to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks' Association (IBA) over the recent limitations on automatic teller machine (ATM) transactions.


Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), a division bench comprising Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice VM Velumani ordered notice to RBI's Principal Chief General Manager and the Chief Executive of the IBA returnable within three weeks.


The PIL filed by Tamizharasan, an advocate seeks to quash the recent circulars by the central bank regulating the number of free ATM transactions in six metros from 1st November.


In his petition, Tamizharasan, submitted that at a time when the customers started using 1.60 lakh ATMs across the country, leading to drop in the crowd in bank branches, RBI had issued the circular based on representation from a few banks without considering the benefit for the public at large.


The change, as per circular issued by RBI on 14 August 2014 (with clarifications on 10 October 2014), would limit the total free transactions, including non-financial, at other bank ATMs to three from the existing five. However, if the transactions were carried out in places other than the six metros, the number of free transactions would continue to be five.


By passing the above circulars, the RBI had taken a stand in support of select banks. The rationale behind installing more ATMs was to help the common man, the petitioner said.


Besides ensuring better and quality service, the banks would also immensely benefit as their service is availed by the customers and flow of money is healthy.


The circulars affected professionals, disabled persons, destitute and elderly people. It would also affect the banks' deposits as the customers would withdraw more money in limited transactions through ATMs, Tamizharasan contended.


"As we lived in a fast paced society with increasing mobility and unexpected demands, the banks should help the customers. The circulars were a regressive step and need to be quashed," he submitted.


The RBI's new guidelines are applicable for bank customers in six metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

8 years ago
as per my knowledge banks reduced the strength of staff by two per ATM.their salaries and allowances to be calculated for the ATM maintain expenses.people are too much struggling without money after deducting from their account in other bank ATMs.there is a shortege of parent bank ATMs in others states and areas in the emergency time for the customer.RBI have to go through the charges and do needful for the middle level people and not for the banks.
8 years ago
The costs of maintaining an ATM are fixed. Banks incur expenses like rent,power charges, watchman salary,AMC charges. These expenses are fixed.
They do not vary with number of hits. Cash loading charges will also not vary. Therefore limiting transactions will be counter productive for Banks as there will be run on their low cost deposits during the first week of every month. This may lead to crash of servers during rush times. On the other hand it is better that RBI directs Banks to install adequate number of ATMs depending upon their deposits lest the customers of those Banks may not go to other Banks ATMs. For example SBI has largest number of ATMs. If customers of other Banks draw from SBI ATMs, then SBI may have to incur more expenditure by way of cash loading charges and the usual wear tear of ATMs. This may also lead to inconvenience to SBIs own customers as they may face cash out position when they go to ATMs for withdrawal of money. So better to discourage other Banks customers and if permitted should be at a charge.
This will make people also to wiegh pros and cons at the time of opening their accounts with a particular Bank. Otherwise some Banks will incur expenditure on installation of ATMs and other Banks will be enjoying at their cost.
James Gujjula

8 years ago
Will the banks be charged for non availability of services like ATMs not working, cash not available in lower denominations, etc? The customer who reports first of any laxity in service of ATM should be rewarded by way of crediting the account holder's account,
N S Sreeraman
8 years ago
The interest being charged by the Banks either on purchased goods or on cash withdrawals is too high, say more than 36%. In fact, it should have been comparable with the normal minimum rate, which one could afford. By paying such high rate of interest, the borrower is put to great difficulty. The concerned authority may consider reducing the aforesaid higher rate of interest so that the Card-holders would be more interested in using the Card for any purpose.
Sabapathy Narayanan
8 years ago
Banks should also inform the customers about the "exact amount to be remitted in their account" to avoid Minimum Balance Penalty/Charges.
Rakesh Goyal
8 years ago
The basic purpose to install ATMs was to minimise transactions within the bank branch premises. Few years back, the cost of transaction in the branch was calculated as Rs. 20-40, where as same cost using ATM was less than a rupee.

Using ATM is beneficial to bank. Now, charging on ATM transaction means double benefit to bank - (a) lesser cost of transaction than branch banking and (b) that too recover many times over the cost. This is unethical and unjust enrichment by banks at the cost of retail customers.

Banks show fabricated and inflated data to calculate ATM transaction cost and get away by fooling RBI and other concerned.

The petitioner must ask the court to ask banks about their cost of transactions and get it validated.
Simple Indian
8 years ago
Yes, this is indeed a regressive step, against the very objective of RBI & PM Modi, to extend Banking services to more people. With such restrictions, RBI may unwittingly encourage people to side-step Banking system and rely on parallel system of cash transactions, as was done years ago when ATMs were not in vogue. Also, there are genuine circumstances when people are forced to use other Banks' ATMs, and also use it more often, to withdraw smaller amounts as per their needs. It costs Banks much less to setup and maintain an ATM than it would to do so for a Branch. Yet, Banks have become greedy and try to squeeze the small consumers and let off the big fish who constitute bulk of their NPAs (will they go after Kingfisher Airlines & recover huge dues instead ?). The RBI ought to make Banking system more small-consumer-friendly, rather than make them circumvent the Banking system altogether, increasing black money circulation too in the process.
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