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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

IBA panel suggests steps to improve ATM security

A committee set up by the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) has recommended several steps to improve security at ATMs, which, if the central bank accepts them, should make ATM transactions safer but may increase the cost for customers.

One of the key suggestions is to set benchmarks for companies that carry cash from banks for replenishing ATMs. The committee has recommended a minimum net worth of Rs 5-10 crore for such cash-management companies. The IBA has yet to finalise the report, but will submit it to the RBI in 7-10 days, Mohan Tanksale, chief executive at the association, told ET.

"The aim is to bring more uniformity to the sector while setting certain benchmarks, which will ensure entry of only standard players in the industry," he said without disclosing details of the report. Setting stringent rules is likely to weed out non-serious and inefficient operators from the segment, which however could reduce competition and increase the fees that cash-management companies charge. The committee was set up after a woman was brutally attacked inside a secluded Bangalore ATM in November.

That attack led the Karnataka government to order banks to provide security guards at all ATMs in the state. There had also been other incidents of crime inside ATMs and attacks on vehicles of cash-management companies. Members from the Cash Logistics Association, Managed Service Providers and IBA were part of the committee.

The committee has recommended a grading system for cash-management companies. They will be rated based on their net worth, said two people with the direct knowledge of the matter. It has prepared the report primarily under five sub-heads: guidelines for infrastructure and operating practices for cash logistics, financial worthiness of cash logistics operators, provision of arms licences, accreditation and compliance system of cash logistic operators and guidelines for risk mitigation and safety norms.

Under its recommendations, security guards at ATMs may be allowed to hold gun licences. Loading cash into ATMs may also be barred after 8 pm. "Clarity on operating standards shall ensure mitigation of risks significantly, pushing operators to work towards safer and more efficient operations for banking sector," said Rituraj Sinha, co-chair of the Ficci Private Security Sector Committee.

Source: Economic Times


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