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City's ATM users bemoan excessive fees

Update: July, 09/2012 - 10:28

 

A woman withdraws cash from a DongA Bank ATM in HCM City. People using ATM cards in HCM City complain banks are charging them too many categories of service charges. — VNS Photo Huy Hiep
HCM CITY — People using ATM cards in HCM City complain banks charge them too many categories of service charges.

Vo Huy of District 1 has six ATM cards that he obtained when they were still free. But now he only uses two.

"Now banks charge fees on most ATM services. Each may be just several thousand dong. But it is a considerable amount in total."

The charges include VND50,000-100,000 for card issuance, VND25,000-60,000 to reissue lost cards, VND10,000-50,000 for a new PIN code and VND1,650 to change it, VND1,650 to 0.05 per cent for money transfer, VND3,300-9,000 for outside-network money withdrawal, and so on.

It is acceptable to levy charges for services that are provided, he said, but banks collect fees even when they do not.

He gave an example: "I have to pay DongA Bank VND20,000 for receiving text messages notifying balance changes and Internet banking, but the messages do not always come in time.

"So I have to get a balance statement printed at the ATM for VND1,650 or at the bank for VND2,000."

Nguyen Trung Linh of Tan Binh District, who has an account at Agribank, said the bank's ATMs in Tan Binh and Tan Phu Districts are almost always out of cash. If they are out of order, the bank takes two or three days to repair them, he said.

"[In both instances] I have to pay fees to withdraw money from ATMs of other bank."

Several BIDV customers also complained that they have to withdraw money from other banks' ATMs due to the same problems.

They also cite another problem: often, ATMs do not dispense cash but their accounts are debited with the amount.

There have been instances where they had to wait eight or nine months to get the money back, they added.

At the end of June the State Bank of Viet Nam ordered banks not to collect ATM transaction fees from their own customers and keep the existing tariffs for other banks' customers unchanged this year. But not many banks have obeyed.

Le Huynh Ha, head of Vietcombank's ATM division in HCM City, said the central bank has not sent any written document telling banks to stop collecting the fees.

"We will implement it scrupulously when we receive an official communication," he said.

His bank spends a lot of money on installing and maintaining ATM systems, he said, and had to levy reasonable charges to recoup them at least partially.

He listed VND600 million for an ATM, the cost of installing air conditioners, VND10 – 20 million per month in rent, and the expenses for electricity and security guards. — VNS

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