Everyday’s people: By Fatima Damisa


The introduction of the automated teller machines (ATM) into the banking sector was considered a great innovation with the aim of making transactions less frustrating for customers. The thought of having access to ones money at anytime and in anywhere made many people heave a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, most banks, without minding the fact that the machines are not always reliable, started encouraging or rather “compelling” customers to make cash withdrawals only through ATM. They easily achieve this goal by surcharging the customer for withdrawing less than a particular amount (which varies from one bank to the other) over the counter.
Today, the situation has not got any better. One even wonders whether ATM achieved the purpose for which they were introduced, because the long waiting queues have only shifted from within the banking hall to the ATM spots. Funny enough, some banks, in their attempt to showcase their customer–friendly policies, make available umbrellas to protect customers from sun or make available chairs for them to sit comfortably while waiting for their turn to use the machine. In this report, many aggrieved customers share with us some of their most frustrating experiences.
The advent of ATM was meant to be a kind of revolution in the banking sector when it was first introduced. Many people, including myself, felt that the issue of having to queue for a long time in the bank was over. But I have come to realize that we don’t have the solution for a long queue in the bank. These days, you can see different people frustrated at the various ATM spots. Sometimes, it is due to lack of fund in the machine, sometimes it is a network problem. Day in day out, you find people are still frustrated. The whole idea of ATM, to my own knowledge, is having access to one’s money at anytime, anywhere, but these days some banks have the ATM in the confined areas of the bank where you can’t access during weekend, which is not meant to be so. So, I think banking sector still have a lot to do in the issue of ATM.
To me, ATM is bullshit. Many ATMs will be seen being active, but when one tries to make a withdrawal she will be welcomed with a message, “Temporarily unable to Dispense Cash.” If the Nigeria economy will ever grow beyond its present state, then every effort at making this ATMs work properly by the banks should be revisited because the ATMs have become the quickest way of getting cash for business transactions. Also, I remember the day I needed money badly. I went to the ATM, but when I slot in my card, the machine swallowed my card instead of dispensing cash. I was frustrated and I couldn’t get the money nor retrieve my card until after 48 hours.
To me, ATM is nothing to write home about. You either experience long queue, faulty machines, or swallowed cards. Aside the frustrations, it is not safe. My candid advice to anyone who uses ATM is to be careful when withdrawing or trying to do any transaction on the ATM around them because it may ruin their day.


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