|People withdraw cash from an ATM in Ha Noi. Many small and medium banks still offer free of charge ATM withdrawal services in order to keep their existing card-holders as well as attract new ones. — VNA/VNS Photo Ha Huy Hiep
HA NOI (VNS)— One month has passed since the new regulation that led to banks starting to charge fees on debit card holders for withdrawing money from ATM machines.
According to the State Bank of Viet Nam's Payment Department, however, 35 card issuers are still offering the service free-of-charge.
Under Circular No 35/2012/TT-NHNN, card issuers are allowed to charge fees on debit card holders, especially for ATM transactions as of March 1.
These fees can be up to VND1,000 (US$0.05) per transaction in 2013, VND2,000 in 2014 and VND3,000 from 2015, and the banks could choose where to set their fees.
The department reported that most banks with the free-of-charge service are small- and medium-sized so they offered the service free-of-charge in order to keep their existing card-holders as well as attract new ones.
The ATM withdrawal fees were mainly applied to large banks which account for 70 per cent of the country's total debit cards and 57 per cent of the country's total automatic teller machines, the department said.
Banks that have so far applied the fees are Vietcombank, Sacombank, SeABank, LienVietPost Bank and Western Bank.
Three others (BIDV, Vietinbank and Agribank) have also planned to collect the transaction fees but are yet to set a date to implement these fees.
The large banks said they had little choice but to apply the fees as they had so far invested a significant amount in installing and maintaining the ATM systems.
Along with the regulation on allowing card issuers to charge fees, the central bank also required banks to improve their services.
Besides having to supply cash for their ATMs within four hours of running out of cash, card issuers were also requested to answer their clients' complaints within five days but banks continue to violate this regulation.
The central bank is drafting a decree to include strict punishments for such offences and has set up teams responsible for checking the quality of ATMs.
In the past few years, 50 banks have joined the Vietnamese ATM card market, with 50 million debit cards having been issued and 15,000 ATMs installed. — VNS