The quest for accessing cash has become a tale of varying experiences for bank customers, as financial institutions fail to implement a uniform cash withdrawal policy across their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Over-the-Counter (OTC) services, and other transaction channels.
The disparity in approaches has created difficulties for some customers in obtaining the cash required for their daily needs and business transactions. While certain banks have raised the daily limit for ATM transactions by more than 400%, others have reduced the limit by almost the same percentage.
Zenith Bank Plc stands out as it recently increased the cash withdrawal limit on its ATMs to N200,000 per day. In contrast, other banks’ ATMs can only dispense between N20,000 and N40,000 per day.
Zenith Bank, in an email to its customers, stated, “You can perform cash withdrawals of up to N200,000 per day at Zenith Bank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) nationwide, even if you bank with other financial institutions.” However, the bank also clarified that the weekly withdrawal limit of N500,000 under the cashless policy for individuals remains in effect.
Apart from Zenith Bank, other lenders have implemented their own rules regarding cash withdrawals. For instance, at the Fidelity Bank Plc branch in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, the ATMs allow withdrawals of N5,000 per transaction, with a maximum daily withdrawal limit of N40,000.
Johnson Okanlawon, a Lagos-based entrepreneur and Managing Director of Countryside Communication, shared his frustration, stating that banks in Akowonjo, Lagos, restrict daily cash withdrawals at ATMs to amounts ranging from N20,000 to N40,000. He also highlighted that many banks are unable to fulfill the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive of allowing N500,000 daily cash withdrawals for Over-the-Counter transactions.
Okanlawon expressed concerns over the scarcity of cash in some banks, attributing it to the rising costs associated with accessing cash from the CBN. According to him, some banks are only able to offer N50,000 or N100,000 for OTC transactions per day. Obtaining cash from banks has become increasingly challenging.
A manager from an old-generation bank in Lagos shed light on the issue, explaining that banks incur costs of around N500,000 to transport cash from the CBN to their branches. As a result, many banks are reluctant to bear these expenses. He mentioned that some banks opt for informal arrangements with business owners who receive significant cash amounts, offering them lower rates instead of officially requesting cash requisitions.
Under the cash withdrawal limit policy, the CBN had set a maximum weekly cash withdrawal limit of N500,000 for individuals and N5 million for corporate entities. However, the implementation of this policy has been chaotic, with cash shortages resulting in a scarcity of physical currency nationwide.
It is worth noting that banks in Abuja and Rivers State have not resorted to such cash rationing measures, maintaining a more stable cash supply for their customers.