Bank card issuers will be punished for collecting fees for inter-network ATM internal-network transactions that have not been approved by the State Bank of Viet Nam, said Ho Huu Hanh, a representative of the State Bank’s HCM City branch.
Funds collected through these illegal fees would also be appropriated to the State budget, Hanh warned.
The central bank first sent the warning yesterday, Sept 24, after Agribank has issued more than 5 million bank cards and had begun charging inter-network fees last Wednesday.
The central bank has not yet responded to proposals from 40 banks that wish to charge customers for account statements. These banks also want to increase fees for customers using other banks’ ATMs (intra-network transactions) from VND3,300 (US$0.17) to VND5,500 ($0.28) per transaction.
HCM City Development Bank (HDBank) deputy director Dam The Thai said that given the current quality of ATM services, many customers may not be satisfied with being charged.
"To boost the development of ATM services, issuers should add more applications, like internet banking, mobile banking, Visa and MasterCard," Thai said.
"Collecting fees on ATM transactions is not the only income from our bank card business," said a Techcombank official yesterday on condition of anonymity. "If banks can manage other income to compensate for the costs of ATM transactions, they may not need to charge the fees. However, the bank card business has not yet made a profit."
The nation’s over 10,000 ATMs handle about VND500 billion ($26 million) in cash, but the funds do not collect interest.
A number of banks have tried to cut corners on ATM services after the central bank rejected a previous request to charge customers for the use of the machines. The central bank has been petitioned three times since 2008 to greenlight ATM charges.