Online banking suffers, ATMs report connectivity issues as Eid approaches


Several people line up at an ATM on a public holiday. Photo: AFP

KARACHI: Long lines were seen at ATMs at various banks in the city on Saturday as more customers avoided banking interactions due to the coronavirus outbreak and limited banking hours before Eid.

Many ATMs have reported connectivity issues and online banking has suffered as well, with many people using both services to withdraw money to shop for the upcoming Eid.

As every year, Pakistanis overseas sent large sums of money home to their families and loved ones before Eid. Thus, ATMs face a high influx of customers.

Customers standing at ATMs in various locations across the city said The news they faced difficulties in withdrawing money from ATMs. Most ATMs were running out of cash due to insufficient funds.

“We are frustrated with the improper ATM and online banking services ahead of the Eid festival each year,” said one customer.

The federal government has announced the May 10-15 vacation. The pressure on online banking has also increased, as many have used online banking to withdraw money or make deposits, in order to avoid physically going to banks due to the limited banking hours. the era of the pandemic.

With the increased use of e-banking and the use of the Internet, other problems have arisen.

“Increased demand for and use of the internet and mobile banking has caused technical problems, so some customers have encountered problems accessing their online and mobile banking services, but many banks have yet to solved these problems, ”said one banker.

Abid Qamar, chief spokesperson for the State Bank of Pakistan, said the central bank had instructed banks for elaborate arrangements to ensure 24/7 availability of ATMs. .

“According to our internal control, most ATMs are available to serve the public. The SBP and banking teams are constantly working to deal with complaints in this regard, ”Qamar said.

In a letter to the banks, the payment system department of the SBP said that during the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays from May 10 to 15, 2021, the public will largely depend on alternative and digital payment services, including ATMs, points of sale and online payment gateways. and internet / mobile banking for their daily needs.

“In our experience, customers generally face issues such as inaccessibility of ATMs due to locked cabin doors and shutter closures, cashless ATMs, network connectivity issues, disruption of services. online services and the refusal of merchants to accept card payments, ”he said.

The SBP has advised banks to take all necessary measures to ensure the continuous, 24-hour availability of banking and payment services to customers.

“Please ensure that your business continuity and disaster recovery arrangements are in place and fully functional,” the SBP asked the banks.

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