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Banks balk at new ATM fees

Update: February, 28/2013 - 13:46

People withdraw cash at a Military Bank ATM in Ha Noi. Few banks say they will collect new State Bank-approved fees on ATM transactions due to public concern over the issue. — VNA/VNS Photo

HANOI (VNS)— Few banks are prepared to begin collecting fees for automatic teller machine (ATM) transactions beginning on Friday, even though the State Bank of Viet Nam gave the greenlight for the charges with Circular No 35, said the director of the State Bank of Viet Nam's payment department, Bui Quang Tien.

Out of 34 commercial banks which have reported new ATM fees to be applied next month, only two intend to charge customers fees off VND200-500 per cash withdrawal, while 10 others will apply the maximum fee allowed by the circular of VND1,000 per transaction.

Under Circular No 35, customers can be charged up VND1,000, beginning March 1. This maximum would double next year and increased to VND3,000 by 2015.

The regulation has caused a stir among the public, especially those with low incomes who receive their salaries through ATM cards.

However, a representative of the Bank Card Association said the operation of ATM services in Viet Nam was costly because about 80 per cent of transactions were cash withdrawals. In other countries, ATMs were less popular because cashless payment systems were more developed.

Tien told the online newspaper Ha Noi Moi that allowing the collection of ATM fees was a measure to encourage commercial banks to invest in and improve their card services and avoid long queues and service outages at ATMs.

The ATM transaction charges aimed to harmonise the benefits for both customers and banks for the development of card services in Viet Nam, he said.

There are over 50 million ATM cards in use and 15,000 ATMs nationwide. — VNS

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