Cash crunch: Mobile wallet cos see spike in digital transactions

ATM operators seek higher'interchange rates, customers may be hit

Cash crunch: Mobile wallet cos see spike in digital transactions

Clearly, the government was caught napping as the indications of the approaching crisis were available in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and other States a few months ago while cash withdrawals were unusually high in Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. "Main banks like SBI, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Central Bank, ICICI, HDFC have confirmed availablility of enough cash in their currency chests", an official spokesperson said.

The government is also analysing the demand pattern in the states.

He said that after media reports, the state government officials reviewed the situation with banks and found that the situation is normal.

In order to rectify the situation, the government has made a decision to hike up the printing of the Rs 500 notes, since ATMs have already been recalibrated to dispense them. After demonetising 500 and 1000 rupee notes, Govt printed Rs 2000 notes! "Now, the added costs of cash management will make the operations unviable for Bank ATM operators and White Label ATM operators, and will force closure of several ATMs".

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The country is witnessing the problem of the cash crunch.

Regional manager of SBI in Dhanbad Bimlendu Vikas said they were diverting most cash to ATMs instead of making payment through bank counters. It's worse because it brings back harrowing memories of demonetisation, when some people even lost their lives as they didn't have cash for medical treatment.

"The shortage may be felt in some pockets largely due to logistical issues of replenishing ATMs frequently and the recalibration of ATMs being still underway", the bank said in a statement.

In a statement by SBI, he further said that the bank is constantly monitoring the situation and making huge efforts to ensure the supply of currency in abundance at all its ATMs.

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"So, in a month, we will be printing about Rs 75,000 crore".

Bank customers may be hit as ATM operators have demanded higher "interchange rates" for ATM transactions to enable them to comply with recent stringent RBI guidelines, an industry body said here on Wednesday. Government sources said on an average 10-12 per cent of ATMs at a given point of time remain under maintenance or closed and so now only a small number of ATMs are extraordinarly out of service. Although the government has stepped in and assured that it is taking steps to tackle the cash shortage at ATMs, the printing of notes appears to be taking some time.

Currency in circulation has been on the rise post demonetisation and transactions have reached pre-demonetisation levels according to the latest data released by the RBI.

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