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Short on cash - ATM

Feeling short on cash, don't worry. Just walk over to the nearest automated teller machine (ATM), insert your card into the card reader, respond to the prompts on the screen, and within a minute you walk away with your money and a receipt. The story of the humble cash-dispensing machine started around three decades back. In India, HSBC set the trend and set up the first ATM machine here in 1987. Since then, they have become a common sight in many of our metros. With more than 800,000 machines worldwide, ATMs have made hard cash just seconds away all throughout the day at every corner of the globe.

ATMs allow you to do a number of banking functions -- such as withdrawing cash from one's account, making balance inquiries and transferring money from one account to another -- using a plastic, magnetic-strip card and personal identification number issued by the financial institution.



Swadhan is the name given to the ATM network of public sector banks and some private banks. Over the past year upto 44 banks in Mumbai, Vashi and Thane have become a part of Swadhan, a system of shared payments network, introduced by the Indian Bank Association (IBA). The 44 members between them have 85 operational branches whose clients could swap the existing ATM card of one member bank for the Swadhan card to access the teller machines of this retail chain. A self-evident testimony to the demand for ATMs from customers which was first triggered off over a decade ago in 1987 when the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank first introduced ATMs in Mumbai.

With Swadhan it was hoped that Indian banks' customers would be able to benefit from an ATM pool that solved the problems of single-ATM outlet banks and its attendant problems of limited access, distance and time. The main features of this card are:

No exchange fee charged to change an old ATM card for a Swadhan card.

Rs. 3,000 fixed as the ceiling on withdrawal.

Exception made for select customers who can withdraw upto Rs. 10,000. Still, this is lower than the average withdrawal of Rs. 15,000 by regular ATMs.

IBA gives banks the discretion to decide a higher maximum amount for withdrawal.

Transactions conducted through any of the member banks appear on a bank statement, which is given only by your own bank.

All transactions conducted in any of the member banks appear on the bank statement, but only your own bank will provide this.

However, no overdraft facility is available on Swadhan cards.

Let's take a look at how the system works. A switch routes all information and transactions among member institutions. It transmits the information and/or data to the card-issuing bank or its processor, which approves or declines the transaction request and notifies the switch. The card-issuing bank's decision is then routed by the switch to the processor of the ATM, which completes the transaction. At the end of each day, accounts among members are settled and account balances are transmitted to each member institution.

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