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Banking Blues: Sour Tales Of ATM And Internet Transactions - Business - Nairaland

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CBN Commences Removal Of ATM Maintenance Fees And Reducing Bank Charges / Nigerians To Pay 5% VAT On Online, Internet Transactions January 2020 — FIRS / UBA Bans The Use Of ATM For Some Transaction Such As Betting And Many Others (2) (3) (4)

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Banking Blues: Sour Tales Of ATM And Internet Transactions by MakeItBiz: 9:50am On Aug 07, 2019
Desola Aluko, a Lagos based lecturer, is a customer of Guaranty Trust bank. She had noticed that each time she makes an online money transfer, an additional N52 is deducted from her account. Since it is no large sum and is supposedly a service charge of sorts, she wasn’t much bothered. Not until she learnt from a colleague that inter-bank charges using the United Bank for Africa, UBA mobile app for money transfers attracts only N11 per transaction, while transfers made to another UBA account, zero charges.

Unlike Desola, many bank customers have in one way or another found themselves enduring inconsistencies in such transaction charges. And with most of these inexplicable irregularities and deductions, the customer loses paltry or significant sums, while the involved bank’s coffers stay healthy.

On his part, Olubunmi Rotimi, a businessman discovered an anomaly in deductions made whenever he makes ATM withdrawals at the Akute branch of the First City Monument Bank, FCMB. Olu, who uses a UBA issued debit card sometimes had reasons to also use the FCMB ATMs at Akute. And he is ever conscious of opting for the FCMB machines only when his previous withdrawals had been through an ATM at any UBA branch to avoid unnecessary deductions. Yet, the FCMB ATM machine never fails to deduct the N65 that should normally be charged after his third withdrawal within a month at ATMs different from that of the UBA.

Olu told makeitglobal.biz that he had always observed that most of the withdrawals made on the FCMB ATMs at the Akute branch are by people with debit cards of other banks. And he concludes that the bank must somehow be taking in significant sums from deductions that most ATM users take for granted.

Unlike Desola who is not much bothered about GTB’s inexplicable deductions, Olu, now very wary, steers clear of FCMB ATMs when he has no option but to make withdrawals from other bank’s machines. But he has no intention of taking up the issue with the bank. For him mitigating future loss as he has done, will do. He is satisfied with no longer losing money in trickles as he experienced with the Akute FCMB machines that he now avoids.

Henry Ijezie, a First bank customer also narrates his unpalatable experience. Henry is quick to call the bank unprintable names courtesy of what he describes as First bank’s “reckless deduction of my money without any justification and blaming it on MasterCard.”

The much-riled customer took to the comments section of a very recent First Bank Facebook home page post to vent his displeasure. “This issue has lingered for over three months, my money wrongly debited severally and kept in my ledger balance for over three months, and I cannot access the money, even after visiting several First Bank outlets and mails forwarded on my behalf to e-services,” he stated.

He explained that he had filled the e-services complaint form several times online with no results. “I have disturbed my account manager to the extent that he doesn’t respond to my emails anymore. The most disheartening thing is that none of them can explain what happened and why that money was lodged in the ledger balance instead of my main balance,” Henry stated.

He went further to reveal his account details. “I will use whatever means it takes to ensure my money is refunded, help me and share this post till it gets to the right person, 3092114350 is my account number, First bank,” submits Henry. However scathing as the post is, the bank’s Facebook minders failed to address the comment, but rather skipped it to address the next comment from another customer.

Another First Bank customer, Oluwapelumi Ayodele, a student, also told makeitglobal.biz about her recent unsavoury experience. On 5 July 2019. She used the bank ATM and N10,000 was debited twice from her account, while the machine failed to yield any cash. One of the transactions was reversed the same day, but 22 days later, the second N10,000 debit wad yet to be reversed. “I have lodged complaints in two different branches but I am still waiting to get my money back,” Oluwapelumi laments

Oluwapelumi and Femi Balogun’s cases are similar. Femi’s grouse is with Wema Bank where he lodged a complaint last year about transferring N10,000 twice to a friend’s account in error. He had N25,000 only in his account prior to the transaction and was told his N10,000 extra debit would be reversed. The transaction was done in November 2018. Femi only recently came to terms with the fact that the refund may never come.

Segun Akure, an Ilorin based Pastor told makeitglobal.biz his frustrating experience concerning a recent failed mobile money transfer. A week ago, his Lagos based junior brother had urgently requested for N2000 as transport fare to attend an interview in Lekki, Lagos. Segun attempted sending the sum through his mobile phone for hours to no avail. However, the amount, which failed to reach his brother’s account, had been deducted. ” My problem now is the cost of subjecting myself to so much effort to start making endless trips to the bank just to resolve the issue, considering the amount we are talking about. And even if it is reversed, the purpose is already defeated” he said.

The longer Segun waits to seek redress, the higher his risk of never getting his money back. Experts posit that most failed transactions not resolved after 30 days are as good as hopeless cases. And many complaints taking too long to get resolved, stand the risk of staying unresolved. Having been inundated with sorry tales by customers in terms of ATM, Point of Sale (POS) machine and fund transfer failures including other bank service shortcomings, the Central bank has gradually been stepping up attempts to put things right. But banks which by the nature of their establishment are always after enormous profits seem to always have surreptitious and inexplicable means through which such monies continue to trickle in.

Many bank customers have sought redress through the bank’s social media pages and e-mails to no avail. Complaints to banks over unsatisfactory services are actually better routed through the CBN Consumer Service platform. Banks tend to resolve such complaints expeditiously, bearing in mind CBN’s power to mete out proper sanctions and reprimands to erring banks. The CBN has always emphasized that all such matters be resolved within periods not exceeding a week.

The section of banks which aggrieved customers should approach to sort out various complaints have also been found wanting in many instances. And while most banks usually list some numbers to be reached by customers when they run into problems on mobile banking platforms, for instance, calls to these numbers hardly ever connect.

Concerning Point of Sales, payments, POS the customer’s card is sometimes declined while the card owner’s account is soon debited. And in September 2018, the CBN served Nigerian banks a circular notifying them of a fine of N10,000 for every failed card transaction not refunded within 24 hours after complaints were lodged. But some banks still claim the N10,000 fine is not applicable to POS transactions, which negates the CBN rule. Cases of wrongful debits and delayed refunds abound still.

Many customers end up frustrated, eventually giving up on their complaints. This has prompted CBN’s latest effort at straightening out the Customer Service department of banks towards more efficient and prompt handling of complaints. In January 2019, prompted by unceasing barrage off complaints, the Apex bank mandated banks to subscribe to the Consumer Complaints Management System, CCMS, where they should upload complaints on a daily basis, assigning tracking numbers for each complaint received by customers from 2 January 2019.

The automated system was put in place towards a quick resolution of complaints to boost customer confidence towards sustaining the cashless policy. But despite the directive to banks to always comply with the stipulated time in the CCMS to address customer complaints, with hanging threats of sanctions, the step is yet to yield desired results.

The CBN, much bothered by the ceaseless complaints has issued yet another fresh directive to banks last month, July 2019 to set up desks specifically for ATM and other card-related complaints. Banks have been asked to publish names, telephone numbers and email addresses of the help desk staff to be contacted when the need arises.

The CBN has also set up a help desk for receiving public complaints on electronic card transactions towards fast-tracking resolutions by affected banks, making available the telephone numbers and email addresses of the contact persons. The outcome of the new CBN directive is still being awaited by many customers who till now have unpleasant tales to tell.


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