New ATM fees to burden cardholders
  • | NLD, dtinews | December 21, 2012 04:13 PM
ATM cardholders will be charged fee for on-us transactions following a new decree by the State Bank.

Currently ATM cardholders are only charged a VND3,000 fee when conducting transactions at ATMs owned by other banks, once the decree takes effect next March, customers will be liable for the charge even when making withdrawals from their bank.


Fee collection as a way to cover losses

A manager of an ATM card issuing department from a commercial bank said banks considered investment for ATM machine systems based on the issued ATM card number. For instance, the level of 2,000 ATM cards for an ATM machine was suitable to avoid the overloads.

“However, at present, a number of banks want to increase ATM fees for on-us transactions as a way to cover their losses in their business activities,” he admitted.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam, the fee collection is somehow supposed to ‘harmonise’ the benefits between banks and their customers, helping banks to raise funds for investment and improve their ATM service quality.

Nevertheless, many companies and cardholders said that banks have already benefited from the provision of ATM services. Under the current law, ATM users must always leave at least VND50,000 (USD2.38 million) in their accounts. An account with less than VND100,000 (USD4.76) does not allow money withdrawals. Customers will have to pay more fees when they make more transactions.

A managing director of a paper company said his company often paid salaries through their ATM cards for their staff two to three days before the set payment date. Therefore, banks could use this money accrued the bank interest. Additionally, only workers with salaries of a few millions VND per month often withdrew their total salary for one time, meanwhile, thousands of other cardholders left some money in their accounts.

Companies benefited but burden for cardholders

ATM enabled payments has helped simplify procedures for businesses, especially those with thousands of employees.

An accountant at a company in Phu Nhuan District, HCM City, said before ATM payment methods were applied; she had to make a list of receivers, prepared small change and then carefully checked the money before making the payment.

Meanwhile, many workers had to queue to wait for money withdrawals at ATM machines on occasions such as holidays and Tet due to the network being overloaded. For students and poor workers, the ATM fee transactions also added to their financial difficulties.

According an economist, ATM fee applications for on-us transactions would cause difficulties for banks. For instance, after the new fee was imposed, many customers would not withdraw their money via ATM. Instead of this, they would come to banks for direct withdrawals. Due to this, banks would have to arrange more staff members to serve them and spend more on procedures.

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