I could tell from the look on her face that she had been harshly done by. I was not sure if I should ask her what went wrong, but she helped me out when she blurted out what was making her sad. She had been trying to withdraw money from her account for a pressing need, but all the ATMs she’d been trying since morning till around 5pm all gave her ‘issuer inoperative’ feedback. She didn’t want to withdraw from the banking hall because of the charges that would go with all in the name of ‘cashless Lagos’. Although, nobody could help her, but I identified with her plight.
I withdrew money over the counter few days earlier; I had been discouraged from using a debit card because of the monthly maintenance charge that used to be attached to debit card ownership; only to get multiple alerts later. The first informed me about my withdrawal, the next informed about a N100 charge tagged ‘ATM non-use Penalty’, the last charge was N10,’outside Home service’. I didn’t feel bad about the charges, I just told myself I needed to get back to debit card usage.
The cashless Lagos policy started officially on April 1, and these electronic transactions are expected to be in constant use, but what happens when banks have to deny customers their savings due to network problems? If I can’t get cash for little domestic use at will, why won’t I keep enough cash at home?
If the cashless policy will survive, all e-channels should become more reliable and banks should ensure regular maintenance check of their network so as not disappoint customers too often.