In a huge relief for the common man, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to penalise banks Rs.10,000 for failing to fill an individual ATM with cash, a chronic challenge faced by customers since the days of 2016 demonetisation.  

However, a ten-hour grace period is allowed to refill the ATMs and no direct complaint system from the customers directly has been provisioned for now. The customers can expect to face fewer ATMs with a "NO CASH" board outside. 

Starting October 1, 2021, cash-out at any ATM of more than 10 hours in a month will attract a flat penalty of Rs 10,000 per ATM. In case of White Label ATMs (WLAs), the penalty would be charged to the bank which is meeting the cash requirement of that particular WLA.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI)IANS

The bank, may, at its discretion, recover the penalty from the WLA operator, said an RBI notification.

In a notification to the MDs and CEOs of all banks, the central bank has said that it has a mandate to issue banknotes and the banks are fulfilling this mandate by dispensing banknotes to the public through their wide network of branches and ATMs.

"In this connection, a review of downtime of ATMs due to cash-outs was undertaken and it was observed that ATM operations, affected by cash-outs, lead to non-availability of cash and cause avoidable inconvenience to the members of the public," it said.

Constant monitoring

The RBI has now decided that the banks or white label ATM operators (WLAOs) shall strengthen their systems/mechanisms to monitor availability of cash in ATMs and ensure timely replenishment to avoid cash-outs. Any non-compliance in this regard shall be viewed seriously and shall attract monetary penalty as per the "scheme of penalty for non-replenishment of ATMs".

As per the scheme, banks shall submit a system-generated statement on downtime of ATMs due to non-replenishment of cash to the Issue Department of the RBI under whose jurisdiction these ATMs are located.

In case of WLAOs, the banks which are meeting their cash requirement shall furnish a separate statement on behalf of WLAOs on cash-out of such ATMs due to non-replenishment of cash.

Such statements shall be submitted for every month within five days of the following month and first such statement for the month of October 2021 shall be submitted on or before November 5, 2021, to the Issue Department concerned.