Friday, April 11, 2014

Poor customer service at ATMs flayed

Mumbai, April 10: Though the number of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) has gone up across the country over the last few years, customer service levels at ATM centres leave a lot to be desired, according to the banking regulator.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a survey of ATMs, has found several deficiencies in services. These relate to messages showing insufficient cash and non-availability of contact details for lodging complaints at the ATM centres.

Another area of service deficiency related to ATM identification numbers not being displayed at the centres, causing inconvenience to customers, according to the survey, the contents of which were described to this paper by a senior official at a public sector bank.

Many a time, customers do not know what to do when money from the account is debited, but the cash is not dispensed from ATMs.

In such a scenario, displaying clear instructions on what the customer should do will be of great help.

This is a significant issue as many bank customers use other-bank ATMs as well as White Label ATMs (set up, owned and operated by non-banks) to withdraw cash.

Rectify deficiencies

Pointing out that customer service at ATMs is not satisfactory, the RBI has urged banks to rectify the deficiencies that have been flagged in the survey.

In fact, the National Payments Corporation of India had advised its member banks to make a provision in the “Customer Complaint Form” wherein a request for the CCTV images can be raised, if the customers so desire, at the time of submitting the complaint form.

NPCI is the umbrella institution for all retail payments in the country and operates the National Financial Switch for ATMs in the country.

Number doubles

The number of ATMs has more than doubled in the last four years. From 74,505 at the end of March 2011, it has jumped to 155,387 at the end of February2014, as per NPCI data.

The Finance Ministry has also asked public sector banks to install more ATMs and achieve the targeted number of on-site ATMs for 2013-14.

Against the target of over 34,000 ATMs to be installed by the end of the fiscal, public sector banks had added 17,559 ATMs by January 2014.


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