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ATMs overloaded as Tet nears   2008-02-05 - VNS

Prior to Tet (Lunar New Year), automatic teller machines (ATMs) are always either overloaded or running out of money, especially those located in high-traffic areas.

Customers withdraw money from ATMs at Vietcombank in Ha Noi. During Tet, cash demand increases and many ATMs in the capital city run out of money. — VNS Photo Truong Vi

HA NOI — Prior to Tet (Lunar New Year), automatic teller machines (ATMs) are always either overloaded or running out of money, especially those located in high-traffic areas.

ATM users in need of cash for the upcoming holidays have recently complained that they could only check their accounts but not withdraw money.

A customer at the Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank), working for a telecommunications company, said that he usually withdrew money at the ATM located at the branch on the Ky Dong Street, in HCM City’s District 3. But recently, every time he’s needed money, he’s had to queue up and wait, thus forcing him to find another out-of-the-way ATM to save time.

Nguyen Tu Anh, general director of Smartlink card alliance, said that at the end of the year, transactions at Vietcombank ATMs were two-times higher than those on normal days and cash withdrawals were three-times higher.

"Though we have prepared the system since December for the anticipated overload, Smartlink still could not control the situation," Tu Anh said, "Currently, we have no immediate measures and we hope that customers can sympathise with the overloaded services."

Tu Anh suggested that customers who wanted to withdraw several million dong should use ATMs, but those who needed more than VND10 million should come to the branches in order to assure safety and help ease the ATM overload.

The Smartlink leader also affirmed that Vietcombank’s ATMs were just overloaded locally because the bank’s staff could not supplement the cash in time, though the system still performed well.

Most customers withdraw money from their bank’s ATMs, but forget about banks that are in the same alliance.

She also suggested that in case Vietcombank ATMs were overloaded, card owners could find other Smartlink member ATMs such as the Military Bank, the Technological Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) and the Viet Nam International Bank.

Tran Phuong Binh, general director of the Dong A Commercial Joint Stock Bank, said that the bank had to store cash amounts doubling those of last year to fuel the ATMs and also had to appoint staff for February 6 to help keep problems from occurring.

Techcombank leaders also promised that their ATM systems would be smooth operators, and that they would tackle card-related problems quickly.

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