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Half the number of ATMs may be shut down in 2019

ATM service providers in India may be forced to close down nearly 113,000 ATMs by March 2019, warned the Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi), the apex body of the ATM industry, stating a large number of ATMs in non-urban locations are unviable. This number includes around 100,000 off-site ATMs and some 15,000 white label ATMs. Indian now has some 238,000 ATMs. CATMi says if this happens, the financial inclusion program would be a major sufferer as millions of beneficiaries under the government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme would not be able to make use of the ATMs to withdraw subsidies in form of cash. The situation may also lead to job losses, CATMi warns. It said the forced closure is on account of unviability of operations brought about by recent regulatory guidelines for ATMs hardware and software upgrades, recent mandates on cash management standards and the Cassette Swap method of loading cash. It added that its members, including the ATM managed service providers, brown-label ATM deployers and White Label ATM Operators, are already reeling under the financial impact caused by huge losses during and post-demonetization as cash supply was impacted and remained inconsistent for months. The situation has further deteriorated now due to the additional compliance requirements that call for a huge cost outlay. The service providers do not have the financial means to meet such massive costs and may be forced to shut down these ATMs, unless banks step in to bear the load of the additional cost of compliances, CATMi added.

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