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It will cost more to make ATM withdrawals from the 1st of June – here’s why

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We’re not sure which chapter of the dystopian nightmare that we call “2020” is playing right now, but we might as well add this gut-punch to the pile. As South Africa enters Level 3 of lockdown on Monday, the banks have decided that it’s time to grab us by the wallets – they’re reintroducing Saswitch charges to each ATM.

LEVEL 3 LATEST: WHAT ARE SASWITCH CHARGES?
We haven’t just made up a word on the spot. Saswitch is the network that allows people to use cash machines belonging to banks that they are not registered with. For example, if someone uses their Standard Bank card to draw money from a Nedbank ATM, they’d be hit with a surcharge before taking their notes. This won’t come in to force, however, if the Standard Bank customer uses a Standard Bank cashpoint.

The charges, which often run up into double-digit territory, will now force any person who uses a cash machine that doesn’t belong to their bank to pay for the ‘privilege’ of accessing their own assets.

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WHY WILL IT COST MORE TO WITHDRAW MONEY FROM AN ATM ON MONDAY 1 JUNE?
Saswitch was removed at the start of Level 5 of lockdown, back in March. This was aimed to help encourage the best social distancing practices, allowing people to use ATMs of any bank, with any card, because it’s the nearest one to them. But as the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) explains, things have changed…

Upon entering Level 3, personal movement is a little more liberal. That means there is less need to prevent Saswitch from charging its standard fees, and sure enough, BASA has taken the first opportunity available to reinstate the charges. They also reason that this decision will help pump money back into the industry…

“The relief measures granted by banks, therefore, do not envisage any debt write-off, but rather a leniency in terms of the repayment of loans. From 1 June 2020, South African banks will no longer absorb the cost of automatic teller machine (ATM) cash withdrawals and Saswitch network charges for their customers.”
“They were waivered to facilitate social distancing at social security payment points and high traffic areas during the initial lockdown. Prudent business practice now requires that banks recover the cost of maintaining and operating ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) networks to ensure the sustainability of these operations.”
-BASA statement

southafrican.com