CBN unveils portal for signature verification
•Apex Bank defends N65 ATM fee
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has developed an online signature portal for banks.
The process and upload of the authorised signatories to the portal should be completed on or before August 29.
CBN Director, Banking & Payments System Department, ‘Dipo Fatoku, said the policy is in furtherance of its effort in the development of safe, reliable and efficient payments and in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, developed an industry portal for the verification of authorised signatories in the banking system.
He said in a circular to banks and other stakeholders that the portal is expected to replace the printed signature booklets that banks distribute such that instructions/documents received from other banks can be verified electronically (online).
The portal will be used by banks, registrars, insurance firms, embassies and any other user of the printed signature booklets, to avoid fabrication of letters as coming from the banks.
The portal is meant to digitise the booklet and also ensure that updates can be made quickly, as staff change functions or move to other institutions.
Fatokun said banks are to contact Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) for the needed training and access rights to the portal, amongst others.
Also, the CBN said cash withdrawal at the ATMs of a customer’s bank is free. It said a ‘’Remote-on-us’’ transaction is when a card holder goes to the ATM machine of another bank other than his or her bank to make a withdrawal.
It explained that in 2012, the CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, transferred the payment of N100 fee on ‘’Remote-on-us’’ ATM cash withdrawal transactions to issuing banks adding that N100 was never removed.
The fee, it said, was only transferred to customer’s bank to pay, and this was intended to encourage/promote the use of ATMs nationwide.
However, having sufficiently raised customers awareness, the first three ‘’Remote-on-us’’ transactions in a month are free for the card holder but paid for by the issuing bank.
“The N65 charge only applies when a customer withdraws cash from another bank’s ATM other than that of his/her bank. The N65 starts to apply from the fourth transaction at another banks’ ATM in a month. The charge is not intended to discourage financial inclusion as the apex bank will not endorse any anti-customer policy,” it said. The CBN said charging of fees on interbank networks is a widely acceptable practice globally.
The CBN said the new fee will ensure customers get better services, increase healthy competition among the banks even as transaction volumes at other banks’ ATM have increased astronomically due to the free Cash withdrawal at other banks’ ATM. The wear and tear as well as the frequency of servicing the ATMs has increased significantly.
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