ATM eats our money,

Constant complications in the ATM (Automated Teller Machine) money transactions have left customers frustrated with the disorderly machines and the banks.

Customers who have encountered such problems have grown annoyingly familiar with the computer generated message on the ATM screens in the event of failed transactions. The message either tells the user that ‘bank host is busy or transaction is not available’.

The first week of June for Druk PNB (Punjab National Bank) saw almost Nu 0.6mn in total reversed in their customer’s transactions.

Kinley an official with the DPNB working within the ATM section said that normally when these sorts of problem arises the average amount reversed comes only to around Nu. 10,000. The recent Nu. 0.6mn is the highest amount to have been reversed during its operations in Bhutan. 

The problem according to the bank official was due to a fluctuation within the Bhutan Financial Switch (BFS) which directs all the inter-bank transactions; the main switches of some banks are located outside of Bhutan, in India and Nepal.

The director for the IT department with the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) said it is due to a problem with the Bank of Bhutan (BOB) switch, but he assured that this will not be happening in the future.

People have complained that money is deducted from their accounts even though transactions have not been successful while using the ATM machines.

The DPNB has admitted to the complications in the machines but bank officials say customers will not lose money on account of the failed transactions.

A DPNB official said the parent bank will credit the amount back to the customer’s account as soon as it gets the report for the day’s transaction from its parent switch which in its case is in India. In the event that a customer cannot be contacted the amount remains in the bank’s sundry account, until the concerned customer lodges a complaint.

When the customers do not come forward or complain then the amount remains with the bank for certain years after which it will be dissolved within the bank.

Currently the banks in Bhutan charge Nu18 among themselves for every transaction made by bank account holders at the ATM of the other banks.

A senior executive and also an IT officer with the Druk PNB, Chogyal Tashi said in the future these charges might be borne by the customers themselves but the amount will be much lesser. The customers of banks in Bhutan have to bear Rs 20 as charges per transaction in India.

The Bank of Bhutan (BoB) and the Bhutan National Bank (BNB) have an automatic partial reversal system introduced which restores the amount to the customer’s account in any event of reversal issues.

“But if in any case a situation arises between two banks, one being the parent bank and other the host, there is a module to be followed up,” said the IT according to the director.

The IT director with the RMA said that one cannot guarantee the efficiency of any machines.

“These are all part of the system,” he said, adding that at all times the banks should have their switch up and running to minimize such inconveniences.

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