Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which facilities the withdrawal of customer’s deposits from his account in any bank that is linked to the network countrywide made its first appearance more than four years ago in Nigeria.
It came into use following Central Bank’s approval. Depositors all over the country hailed the use of ATM as novel and unique as well as applauded the former Central Bank Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo for its introduction into Nigerian banking system.
The use of the ATM was appreciated by many because it helped to reduce long queues at the bank halls and afforded depositors the novel opportunity of withdrawing from their account anytime, anywhere they liked.
However, some believe that the coming of ATM is not the much needed solution to ease the long queues at the banks since it has its own associated problems.
Speaking with The Weekend Tide, Mr A. Enyi, an officer of Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) said that the ATM has afforded people opportunity to use their money anytime they needed it.
Mr. Enyi noted that apart from the opportunity of using one’s account anytime one required it, it had eased the problem of carrying bulk money home.
According to him, people no longer carry much money home as they have access to their accounts any time of the day, especially when banks are all over the place.
He explained that the Nigerian Banking Sector witnessed great transformation under Prof. Chukwuma Soludo but regretted that banks were yet to perfect the ATM transactions as in other advanced countries of the world.
The officer, who said that he had travelled to other parts of the globe, noted that the banking sector was inundated with complaints of network failure, inability to dispense cash, and a plethora of other agitations and protests.
Mr. Enyi, who stated that he had an account with the First Bank of Nigeria, pointed out that his ATM card had been trapped in the system on two different occasions.
“Sometimes, your ATM card gets trapped when you need it most. It is worse when it is a weekend and you cannot make withdrawal through cheque”, he said.
Also speaking, Mrs Kelechi Akpelu said that the banks had to do something about the ATM because it is not working as expected.
The lady, who resides in Rumuodomaya area of Port Harcourt said that when she needed money most, the ATM at the United Bank for Africa trapped her card.
According to her, “I was pregnant, it was a weekend and I needed to go to the hospital because my baby was due to be delivered but my ATM card was trapped. There was nothing I could do so I felt so bad. It was a sort of nightmare to me”.
Mrs. Akpelu remarked that unless something was done to check the problems of the ATM, many Nigerians will continue to use the cheques instead of the ATM.
She said many Nigerians were losing confidence in the ATM, and noted that after that incident, she had never used the ATM. “My card is there but I don’t use it anymore because of the problem associated with it”, she explained.
The woman regretted that most times, “you go to the ATM closest to you but you don’t find any money and you see, it is not usually palatable”. She said that it was interesting that the ATM was introduced in Nigeria and pointed out, that despite its shortcomings, it had improved the banking sector and Nigerians generally. “It is nice to feel secure that you have access to your account anytime of the day, but it is often frustrating when there is network problem”, the woman stated.
Mr. Christian Oyo, a civil servant in River State who spoke with our correspondent said he had never used the ATM since his bank issued him a card more than two years ago.
He said he preferred