Cross-bank ATM fee announced

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Another Tk 10 will be paid by the card-issuing bank to the one that operates the ATM booth, a Bangladesh Bank circular announced on Tuesday.

Seven commercial banks are now connected to the National Payment Switch of Bangladesh (NPSB) — Dutch Bangla Bank, Brac Bank, Pubali Bank, Prime Bank, South East Bank, Islami Bank and Al-Arafah Islami Bank.

The circular, which comes into effect from April 1, was sent to the chief executives of the banks from the central bank’s Payment Systems Department.

The customers will also have to pay Tk 5 to check their balance or collect mini statements from ATM booths owned by other banks.

The circular, however, suggested that all of these charges could be paid by the card-issuing banks themselves.

There are about 5,000 ATM booths connected to the NPSB across the country, of which Dutch Bangla Bank alone operates 2,500.

Central bank’s Payment Systems officials said many banks were issuing ATM cards to a large number of their clients without having a proportionate number of booths.

The banks that have a large number of ATMs are spending considerable amounts f to manage them.

The central bank circular said opening and operating ATM booths and ensuring their security entailed significant costs for the banks.

“These costs increase even further if the banks try to provide the services to customers of other banks,” it said.

“Therefore it is essential that a minimum charge be imposed on the withdrawal of cash using booths of other banks. The charge will motivate banks participating in the NPSB to expand their network of ATM booths.”

Payment Systems Department officials said all commercial banks had been asked to connect to the NPSB.

But many banks don’t have their own switches and have asked for another year’s time.

At present there are over eight million ATM card holders in the country. Banks outside the NPSB provide ATM services through third parties, but collect fees that are often as high as Tk 70.

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