ATMs in Pakistan : Customer account has been debited without cash disbursement: What to do ?

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has issued the guidelines for compliance by all the commercial banks and switch operators for standardization of ATM operations to reduce inconvenience to customers. But banks are paying attention to them.

Commercial banks have been given guidelines by the State Bank of Pakistan to carry out ATM cash balancing and reconciliation every working day at a time fixed by their head offices.

The actual cash is to be balanced with cash journal provided by the ATM and reconciliation is to be carried out for difference in cash balances in order to identify suspect transaction(s).

It has been observed that often customer account is debited with cash disbursement. This kind of incidents disturb customers. 

The customer should immediately contact the branch and inform them about the incident. They should immediately call help their bank and lodge a complaint.

Bank customers should know that tat branches verify transactions and try to complete the process of “Automatic Credit”  within the time frame given by the State Bank of Pakistan 

The State Bank says that banks should develop detailed documented procedure for “Automatic Credit” and arrange training of relevant staff members. However, it has been observed that customer support officers have poor knowledge to guide customers.

The SBP asks branches to report to its Card Facilitation Centre (CFC) details of of claims settled, outstanding claims and balance in suspense account on daily basis. 

The term CFC has been referred to a centralized unit in a commercial bank responsible to manage e-banking channels.

The CFC maintains a database of resolved, unresolved cases of its own customers and balance in suspense account. This information  enables quick response of queries relating to automatic settlement of account and submission of claims where necessary.

All banks are required to identify at least two key personnel (Address, Phone No, Fax No and e-mail address) of CFC who will be responsible to respond queries. This information should also be made available on the web sites.

Immediately after crediting account of the customer, the issuing bank must inform the customer in writing accordingly.

I advise customers to always use the ATMS of their banks because in case of such incidents automatic credit is carried in 3 days if you use a different branch of the same bank.

The State Bank of Pakistan recommends that banks install external camera/cameras in ATM cabins/rooms within three months from the date of issue of this circular to have secondary evidence against cash claims to satisfy customers. The location should be adjusted in a way that PIN could not be captured.

The customer, whose account has been debited without cash disbursement, should not be charged for minimum balance to the extent of the undisbursed amount and time for which it remained payable. These timelines have been agreed for a period of six months from the date of issue of this circular. Banks are required to review and redesign their internal processes and through the use of IT solutions, should further reduce these timelines.

The new procedures will apply on transactions executed on or after May 1, 2006. However, banks are required to clear all outstanding claims positively by May 15, 2006.

Copyright Business Re



4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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