Customers would, however, continue to be eligible for five free transactions (inclusive of financial and non-financial transactions) every month from their own bank ATMs. They would also be eligible for three free transactions from other bank ATMs in metro centres and five in non-metro centres.
The RBI had earlier allowed banks to increase interchange fee per transaction from Rs 15 to Rs 17 for financial transactions and from Rs 5 to Rs 6 for non-financial transactions in all centres with effect from August 1, 2021.
The charges have been increased to meet the increasing cost of ATM deployment and expenses towards ATM maintenance incurred by banks/white label ATM operators, as also considering the need to balance expectations of stakeholder entities and customer convenience.
It may be noted here that the central bank had set up a committee in June 2019 under the Chairmanship of the Chief Executive, Indian Banks’ Association to review the entire gamut of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) charges and fees with particular focus on interchange structure for ATM transactions.
There were 1,15,605 onsite ATMs and 97,970 off-site automated teller machines as on March 31, 2021. About 90 crore debit cards issued by different banks were outstanding at end-March 2021.
The first ATM in India was set up in 1987 by HSBC in Mumbai. In the following twelve years, about 1,500 ATMs were set up in India. In 1997, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) set up Swadhan, the first network of shared ATMs which allowed interoperable transactions.