Hardship for Nigerians as banks’ ATMs run dry, POS operators increase charges
Many Nigerians were left frustrated on Monday as cash, including old and new naira notes were unavailable from banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in most parts of the country.
Bank customers who needed small cash to pay for transport fares, and other urgent needs could not find money to withdraw from the ATMs while POS operators took advantage of the situation to adjust their service charges.
In fact, not only were there long queues, videos of bank customers wrestling and exchanging blows at anATM stand trended on social media.
When Ripples Nigeria visited some of the banks in some parts of Lagos including Ikotun, Okota, Isolo, and Ipaja their ATMs were empty and the banks were not paying over the counter, many customers who crowded the empty ATMs were also seen wearing disappointed looks.
A civil servant, John Akueze told Ripples Nigeria that he visited several ATMs at Ikotun with the hope of withdrawing cash.
“I have gone to all the ATMs in my area at Ikotun; I could not get any cash. I have also been to the ATMs in Apapa on Saturday where I work; they are not dispensing cash, not even the old naira. Where am I going to get money to pay for transport when going home.”
Another frustrated customer, who gave his name as George said he decided to withdraw from a POS operator who was standing around the bank and he was charged N250 to withdraw N5,000.
“It is frustrating, I needed the cash to buy foodstuff for my family at the market, how do I tell a pepper seller to give me her account number? We all need cash”
The cashless ATMs and banks have created more opportunity for the few Point of Sales (PoS) operators who have cash to make excess money as they charge a premium on new naira.
READ ALSO:Scarcity of new Naira notes hits CBN’s cash swap with banks, First Bank reject PoS agents’ request
Many POS operators have also run out of cash.
A POS operator Kunle Ajayi confirmed to Ripples Nigeria there is an adjustment on charges for cash withdrawals.
“What I can give each customer is just N3,000 plus my N200 charges. It is not my fault, I had to increase it from 100 and also ration what I have, banks are not giving out cash, even what I have is the old Naira notes.”
Some Nigerians on social media platforms like nairaland – a popular online community ranked among the 10 most visited websites in Nigeria by Alexa.com, shared their experiences using POS for withdrawal of the new naira notes.
A user named tolexy007 said in his area, PoS operators are charging N250 on withdrawals between N1,000 and N5,000 for new notes and N100 for old notes for the same range.
MaDaRa01 said PoS operators have hiked charges in his area owing to the scarcity of the new notes.
He said he was charged N1,000 for N10,000 new notes by a PoS operator. While BBM said he was charged N600 for N10,000 by a PoS operator in his community.
Meanwhile, the bankers committee on Monday instructed that banks to stop paying customers with old naira notes except N100, N50, N20, N10 and N5 denomination.
A bank staff in the Ketu area of Lagos who spoke under condition of anonymity lamented that they do not have the new naira notes, and have desisted from putting old notes into the ATMs, as par CBN directive, hence Nigerians are witnessing a shortage of cash at the banks.
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