Micro ATMs are not new to the Indian banking system, though their usage is restricted to remote locations. They are, in the most basic terms, handheld point of sale terminals used to disburse cash in far flung locations where branches themselves cannot reach because of connectivity issues, or where setting up a traditional ATM may not be viable
Micro-ATMs will also be deployed to dispense cash against debit/credit cards up to the cash limits applicable for ATMs. A task force is also being set up under a Deputy Governor of RBI consisting of representatives of banks and the Finance Ministry to draw up an action plan for the rapid recalibration of ATMs.
The Reserve Bank of India’s decision on Monday to allow current account holders to withdraw Rs. 50,000 in a week from bank branches will help small traders and businesses. Such disbursements will be predominantly in Rs. 2000 denomination notes, the RBI said in a statement. This will be applicable for current accounts that are operational for the last three months or more.
Savings account holders can withdraw Rs. 24,000 from branches per week, the RBI had said on Sunday night. The banking regulator has also asked banks to deploy micro-ATMs near village panchayat offices, police stations and military outposts, government departments, offices of public sector units, petrol pumps and other similar secure locations.
“As it may entail larger volume of cash requirements, banks may enhance the limits of the micro- ATMs to at least Rs. 50,000 and allow frequent replenishment of cash to them,” the RBI said. It has also asked banks to consider using mobile vans in the remote, unbanked areas. “Banks should, in a camp mode, open accounts for tea/coffee and other plantation workers, employees of sugar cooperatives, dairy firms and such other worker groups with concentrated payment locations so that they may be better served in terms of deposit into accounts and withdrawal therefrom,” it said.
It reiterated that to cope with the increased work load banks may consider hiring retired employees.
The RBI said banks have to ensure that the customers use separate pay-in-slips for depositing specified bank notes (SBN).