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Should you withdraw money from White Label ATMs?

Not many are aware of what kind of ATMs they are using, that is because not many are bothered as long as that machine dispenses cash. It is more than enough. However, for your information, there are two types of ATMs one which are regulated and managed by banks,
while the another form is white label ATMs (WLA). To describe the latter form of ATM, well they are not bank operated ones. However, WLA has captured the attention of RBI, as recently the central bank has removed few norms for operating of this kind of ATMs. Considering WLA are not bank owned, their services therefore are not similar like normal ATMs. WLA are allowed by non-bank entities, you can say other financial institutions like NBFCs or micro financing companies. Therefore, if you ever come across different services like the normal ones you generally prefer, that’s because it is a WTA. 

On a review of operations of WLAs and representations received from stakeholders, as also to enhance the viability of WLAs, RBI decided few new guidelines for WTA which enhances their services. RBI has now allowed WLA operators to buy wholesale cash, above threshold of 1 lakh pieces in any denomination directly from RBI issued offices and currency chest against full payments. Further, these operators can source cash from any scheduled bank including co-operative and regional rural banks. 

Going ahead, now WLA operators can offer bill payment and interoperable cash deposit services subject to technical feasibility and certification by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Apart from this, the operators can also display advertisement pertaining to non-financial products or services anywhere within the WLA premises including WLA screen except the main signboard. RBI has asked to ensure that these advertisements are running on the screen disappear once a customer’s transaction is completed. 

Further, now banks are in position to issue co-branded ATM cards in partnership with the authorised WLA operators and may extend the benefit of ‘on-us’ transactions to their WLA as well. 

Now the above mentioned move is definitely a boost to non-bank entities as their ATMs will now be able to dispense more cash and also they will be able to promote their products. 

But should you remove your money from WLA.?

Under Payment & Settlement Systems Act, 2007 of RBI, ATMs set up, owned and operated by non-banks are called WLAs. 

For customers, the using of WLA is similar like normal ATMs of any other bank, except that the acceptance of cash deposit and few value added services are not permitted by RBI in case of former. 

RBI’s movement in allowing non-bank entities to set up WLA is just to increase the geographical spread of ATM for enhancing customer services especially in rural areas. 

Similar services offered by WLA like ATMs are - account information, mini/short statement generation, cash withdrawals and PIN change. Here, WLA does not gives you service like cash deposits, regular bills payments and purchase of re-load vouchers for mobiles. 

Also services like personal loan application, paying taxes, railway ticket booking, fixed deposits investment, mutual funds investment, feeding Aadhaar card details, mobile recharge, e-verification of ITR and cardless cash withdrawal - which are also few key services offered by ATMs owned by banks, are not available for a customer in WLAs.

Coming to on-us transactions, these are carried out at an ATM of the card issuing bank. While transaction carried at an ATM of the bank, which is different from the card issuing bank or a transaction at a WLA is said as off-us transactions. Simply put, if you use your card at other bank branch. 

A customer can use their debit cards, credit cards and prepaid cards, as permitted by the issuer on WLAs.

Hence, if you only want to remove money, then WLA can be your alternative for the service. However, if you want to practice other services, then WLA is not your resort. 


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