Banking giant State Bank of India on Thursday said normalisation of ATM services will take another ten days as the number of machines is huge but the vendors providing services are few. The government, however, has said that most of the ATMs will be back in operation from Friday. “Re-configuration (of ATMs), as we have done in the past, takes time so it has to be done one by one. It should be normal in ten days’ time because you have to understand that there are two lakh ATMs (of all banks) in the country but there are only three to four vendors in the country,” SBI’s chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said in Mumbai.
Some of the bigger players providing ATM service are NCR Corporation and Hitachi. She said many of the ATMs which are configured to dispense Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 notes can not dispense Rs 100 notes, so they have to be reconfigured now. Bhattacharya said sending cash to the peripheral centres is also a challenge as it needs both transport as well as adequate security.
“In several states money has to be airlifted and it depends on the weather since the money is transported in helicopters. So there could be some problems with the peripheral areas,” she said. She advised the customers to also use ‘point of sale’ machines, where they can withdraw up to Rs 2,000. The government on Tuesday demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in a step to curb black money. Following the move banks were closed on Wednesday to stock lower denomination notes. They opened on Thursday.
Long queues were seen on Thursday at banks as thousands flocked to deposit scrapped notes and withdraw lower-denomination and new banknotes.