Lagos: Customers lament as POS operators increase charges

Amid a surge in demand for more cash by bank customers in Lagos, Point of Sale (POS) operators have increased their N100 withdrawal charges for N5,000 cash to N200.

This is as result of dearth of cash in many ATMs in the state, thereby forcing many bank customers to turn to POS operators for their cash daily needs during the yuletide period.

It was gathered that many Bank customers at Okota, Ikeja and Ikotun areas of Lagos State moved from one Automated Teller Machine to another looking for where to withdraw as the ATMs remained empty, and the few ones with cash were besieged by desperate customers.

Findings across bank branches in some areas of the state revealed that many customers could not withdraw the total amount they needed over the counter due to lack of adequate amount of cash on the part of the banks.

The development, it was learnt, affected several operators of Point of Sale business who could not withdraw enough cash from the banks and the ATMs to run their businesses properly.

A POS operator in Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos said the upward reward review of withdrawal charges was due to the difficulties in getting cash from banks.

“It has become so difficult to get cash from ATMs, and even inside the banking hall as the available cash is being rationed. If you planned to withdraw N200,000 for instance, they will say you can only get N100,000.”

Another POS operator in Dopemu, Kunle Afolabi said: “I was at Access Bank and Gtbank branches to collect N500,000 recently but I could not do so. Access Bank officials said they could give me only N100,000. Gtbank also claimed they could give me only N150,000.

He said the two banks claimed there wasn’t enough cash and subsequently advised me to use alternative channels to do my remaining transaction.

A middle-aged woman took to social media to explain how while she tried to use the USSD code of her bank to transfer N100,000 to a customer with a UBA account on December 18, 2021 the transaction was unsuccessful.

She revealed that after she initiated the transaction she received a message, “your account is restricted please dial 73720*BVN# or visit any GTBank branch to link your BVN to your account.”

The woman who was sure that her account had been linked to her BVN, however, followed the instruction, only to receive another response, which read, “Your account is already linked to your account. Dial 5680# to confirm your BVN.”

Meanwhile, some observers opined that the difficulties being experienced by customers to get from cash from banks may not be unconnected with the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to hold back N10.1trn deposits of banks in Cash Reserve Requirements (CRR) in the first 11 months of 2021.

CRR is the amount the CBN debits from banks’ accounts in compliance with its monetary policy objective of mandatorily keeping cash on behalf of banks and cannot be accessed

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