CASH WITHDRAWALS through ATMs in rural areas have dipped, especially in cash-vending machines that have been recalibrated and loaded with the new currency notes of Rs 2,000.
“In rural areas, especially in the Northeast, our ATMs that have been recalibrated and fully loaded with the new Rs 2,000 currency have seen a dip in transactions as the ticket size in such areas are small and the people there don’t want to withdraw Rs 2,000 notes,” said Ramaswamy Venkatachalam, managing director, Fidelity Information Services (FIS), a banking and payments technology provider.
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Venkatachalam said that in rural areas, people typically have small balances in their accounts and even the ATM withdrawals are mostly of under Rs 1,000. Due to the hoarding of Rs 100 notes and short supply of the new Rs 500 notes, most of the ATMs have a higher number of Rs 2,000 notes, which may not be of much use to people in rural areas, he said.
“The situation is expected to improve once the supply of the new Rs 500 notes stabilises,” said Venkatachalam.
As of Monday, over 82,000 ATMs that account for 40 per cent of the total cash-vending machines have been re-calibrated since the RBI constituted a task force under Deputy Governor S S Mundra to oversee the recalibration of ATM machines.
“The recalibration of ATMs is on track. We are being able to recalibrate over 13,000 ATMs a day and even the availability of the Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes has increased,” said Rituraj Sinha, president, Cash Logistics Association of India (CLAI).
Sinha said the task of recalibration of ATMs is expected to be complete in the next eight to ten days.
Venkatachalam said urban centres have seen more ATM machines being recalibrated as the density of cash-vending machines in these areas are more — there are over 2.2 lakh ATMs in the country, spread over 650 districts.