DAMMAM — Economists and bankers have demanded that banks should not restrict ATM withdrawals to their customers only and should allow customers of other banks to use the facility as well during Eid Al-Fitr holidays to ensure around-the-clock ATM cash flow to all citizens. They have warned against the shortage of ATM cash flow during Eid Al-Fitr holidays and stressed the importance of constantly feeding ATMs with cash.
Fadhl Al-Boainain, an economic analyst, told Al-Watan Arabic daily that during Eid Al-Fitr holidays, some banks program their ATMs to allow withdrawals to their customers only in order to provide around-the-clock services to their customers. These banks shouldn’t do so especially at a time when ATMs are the only source for cash. The committees in charge of supervising banks should ensure that ATMs allow cash withdrawals to everyone without exception during the Eid holidays.”
He also said that banks need to develop their internal networks and the technological systems that operate ATMs in order to ensure constant cash flow for all citizens.
“Banks should design a plan to ensure that their ATMs don’t have any glitches during Eid holidays so that citizens can get money. Some glitches cause ATMs to deduct an amount of money without giving it to the customer who has to wait until after Eid Al-Fitr to reclaim the amount from the bank. The best solution for these technical errors, which happen every year, is to expand the data line so that it can cover the size of current operations and develop bank and ATM systems.”
Dr. Habib Turkistani, an economics professor at King Abdulaziz University, said that “bank services are very important at this time and should be available all time and should not stop when we use online or ATM services. Any technical errors will disrupt daily bank services. Today, local economy is closely connected with global economy. There are investors, students on scholarships, tourists and patients abroad who might need money anytime. Banks are depositories for money; therefore, they should work all days because bank services here are connected with banks abroad that work on Thursdays and Fridays, which are holidays here. Add to this, the time difference between the Kingdom and other countries. When some banks here don’t work during Eid holidays, many economic activities in the Kingdom get negatively affected.”
Local banks have not encouraged their customers to use online banking services and many of these banks charge fees for online services, Dr. Turkistani added. “For example, an electronic wire transfer can cost you SR15. Moreover, banks don’t fulfill their social responsibilities as properly as they should. Many ATMs stop working during holidays because banks don’t have strong communication networks that can deal with the large number of operations. Banks should provide their customers with better services because they get huge profits from customers’ accounts.” — SG