The Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is a device that provides the bank customer with access to financial transactions without the need for human intervention in the form of a bank clerk or cashier or the use of a teller. It was to signify a change from the old order of queuing for hours in banking halls just to make a simple withdrawal or transfer transaction.
Most Nigerians therefore embraced this technology whole heartedly. The use of the ATM’s was further cemented with the introduction of the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Over time, many Nigerians have continued to have challenges with the use of ATM’s.
The challenges include temporarily out of service, unable to dispense cash, issuer or switch inoperative and withholding of the transacting cards. Others are debiting an account without withdrawing and long queues at ATM points by customers. Besides, many of the machines are not updated with the necessary software to dispense cash to customers.
It is a fact that the Nigerian nation is still evolving as far as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is concerned, which might explain some of the teething challenges that innovations rely on. It behooves the banks to always engage competent ICT professionals to ensure efficient service delivery. Although some of these malfunctions could be ignorance on the part of the customers, customers must acknowledge that the card is not meant to be kept close to electronic devices or any device that possesses a magnetic field such as a radio set, television, mobile phone, and computers especially when they are in use, as this can affect the efficiency.
Similarly, the users must always know that the silver coated part is very sensitive and must not be scratched or damaged in any form.
To this end, the customer care units of banks must continue to orientate their clients, at the point of collection of these cards on the importance of keeping their ATM cards safe.
Again, some of the naira notes in some ATM’s are mutilated and torn with increasing complain from customers. It is incumbent on the apex bank as the regulatory body of commercial banks to intervene and address these challenges, especially the circulation of these torn and mutilated notes.
The apex bank must also work hard to ensure that the cashless policy is actualized in all parts of the country. The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) should not be left out in the crusade. The agency must live up to its expectations to ensure that Nigerians get the best services.
There is a compelling need for more stringent monitoring of the ATM operations by the apex bank, through that, appropriate penalties can be imposed on recalcitrant banks.
Above all, the central bank and other agencies must continue to direct and monitor financial institutions to understand that the embarrassment customers are facing in the country are avoidable.