KATHMANDU: Account holders will now have to queue at branches to make withdrawals of more than Rs 50,000. Nine commercial banks have slashed the withdrawal limit from ATMs to tackle security threats.
They have reduced the withdrawal limit to Rs 10,000 per transaction from ATM consoles. Likewise, cardholders cannot withdraw more than Rs 50,000 on a single day using their ATM cards, while monthly limit has been fixed at Rs 200,000.
Banks that have issued the notice are Nepal Investment Bank (NIBL), Siddhartha Bank, Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB), Global IME Bank, Sunrise Bank, Machhapuchchhre Bank, Laxmi Bank, Kumari Bank and Citizens Bank
“We decided to reduce withdrawal limit to safeguard deposits of customers until security is further strengthened,” said CEO of RBB Krishna Prasad Sharma. Earlier, banks allowed withdrawals of Rs 40,000 per transaction and daily limit was fixed at Rs 100,000.
“We have also asked cardholders to change their Personal Identification Number (PIN) as soon as possible because a large number are still using the PIN issued by banks, which has increased the threat of being easy targets of card scammers,” he added.
The move came in response to increasing card fraud incidents in Nepal and India through the use of debit cards issued by Nepali banks. A couple of days back, Nepali police had apprehended a group of Indian nationals withdrawing money from India using fake NIBL cards.
Banks have also limited the amount of withdrawals from India to Rs 8,000 per transaction, and reduced monthly transaction to Rs 80,000.
“Cardholders can use debit cards at Point of Sale (POS) machines while making purchases instead of withdrawing cash,” pointed out Sharma. These banks have set the daily transaction limit through POS terminals at Rs 100,000. However, the monthly limit has been set at Rs 200,000.
Most account holders have been relying on plastic money — especially debit cards — to withdraw money instead of waiting in queues to encash cheques. Moreover, most depositors do not own cheque books in order to avoid additional conditions that come with owning cheque books like extra charges and mandatory balance requirements.
“We are aware that customers will go through inconvenience due to slashed limits but the risk of falling victim to card frauds will also be minimised,” added Sharma. There are about three million debit cards distributed by financial institutions in Nepal.