Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday, issued 49-page guidelines to commercial banks regarding the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sale (POS) and other online transactions.

According to the new guidelines, all denominations of naira should be dispensed from ATMs, while banks are not longer permitted to reject ATM cards of customers of other banks. Here are 10 important take aways.

1. No discrimination against users of other banks’ ATM cards:

The new apex bank directive also says no ATM owner or acquirer shall discriminate against any card scheme or issuer, and that all ATMs shall accept all cards issued in Nigeria under CBN regulations for any card-based value-added service made available on the machine.

This is to say that customers who use card issued by bank A should enjoy same privileges as those with cards issued by bank B while using an ATM service rendered by bank B.

2. Banks to build ATMs for the visually inspired:

The new guidelines equally instructs banks to ensure that at least 2 percent of their ATMs have tactile graphic symbol for the use of visually impaired customers.

The apex bank further said the locations of such ATMs should be publicised through mass media channels, or at least via corporate websites of banks.

3. All naira denominations to be dispensed by ATMs:

The apex bank instructed that “All ATMs should be able to dispense all denominations of naira.” This means that ATMs should subsequently be able to dispense all paper money denominations. Thus, going forward, card users should be able to withdraw from N100 and above from ATMs. In Nigeria, paper bank notes are N100, N200, N500 and N1000, while N50, N20 and N10 are polymer notes.

4. Customers no longer have to struggle to read instructions on ATM screens

The apex bank has also instructed banks to ensure that ATMs are be sited in such a way that direct or reflected sunlight or other bright lighting is prevented from striking the ATM display. For instance, such could be prevented through the use of overhead sun shelter. This, according to the bank is to ensure that customers don’t struggle to read what’s written on ATM screens.

6. Customers to be alerted to take their ATM cards after transactions.

Part of the new guidelines also says precautions are to be taken to minimize the possibility of a card being left. To this effect, banks are asked to activate means of alerting customers, either by a message or voice, to take their card.” Also, machines are to ensure that cash is collected before the card is pumped out to minimize the possibility of customers leaving cash uncollected at ATM.”

5. An ATM should not be out of use for more than 72 hours:

The CBN has as well asked banks to ensure that ATM downtime is not more than 72 hours consecutively. And where this is not practicable, customers shall be duly informed by the deployer and helpdesk contacts adequately displayed at the ATM terminals.

7. Prompt cash refunds after failed transactions:

Banks are also directed to effect immediate refund of deductions made after a failed ATM transaction by own customers, while the process of refund should not take more than 48 hours for interbank transactions.

8. No more issuance of dirty notes via ATMs

The apex bank has also instructed banks to ensure that notes lodged into ATM are clean notes. In other words, they are no longer authorized to issue dirty or torn notes via the ATM

9. No more local forex transactions with Nigerian cards:

According to the apex bank, all transactions at an ATM in Nigeria shall, where the issuer is a Nigerian bank, or any other issuer licensed by the CBN, be settled under a domestic settlement arrangement operated by a Nigerian Company.

10. Other users should not be able to see your transactions

The CBN also said privacy shall be provided by the design and installation features of ATM such that in normal use the cardholder does not have to conspicuously take any protective action.