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Regulated Financial Institutions have been directed by the Bank of Ghana to among other things ensure that the replacement of ATM cards captured by Automated Teller Machines, due to technical issues among others, is done for free.

This was contained in a document issued by the central bank on how payment cards captured in Automated Teller Machines are to be treated following perennial complaints about such incidents.

The document titled Treatment of Captured Payment Cards in Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) Directive for Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) directed that, in addition to an issue of technical challenges, registered financial institutions shall not charge a fee for the replacement of cards captured by an ATM, if the Payment Card is forgotten in an ATM card reader, as well as if a session has been timed out during an ATM transaction.

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An issuer of ATM cards shall also not charge a fee for enabling a disabled or blocked captured card.

The directive also goes on to enumerate a number of conditions under which a card can be captured by an ATM device, including but not limited to the entering of a wrong Personal Identification Number (PIN) more than the permitted number of times; the flagging of a Payment Card as “Card Capture”, “Stolen Card”, or “Lost Card”, the use of an expired, damaged of fraudulent card on an Automated Teller Machine among others.

The Bank of Ghana also gives a number of conditions under which financial institutions can Destroy Captured ATM Cards.

Card holders whose cards, unfortunately, get captured by ATMs have also been urged to, at least within 48 hours, lodge a complaint with the acquirer or the issuer of an ATM card and provide all relevant information to assist in identifying the Card Holder, including a valid national identification card, driver’s licence, Passport, SSNIT ID or voter identification card.

The directive goes on to instruct financial institutions to also do well to retain all relevant documentation on captured cards for a period not less than six (6) years from the date the captured card was retrieved.

According to the central bank, a Regulated Financial Institution in breach of the provisions of the Directive shall be liable to an administrative penalty of not less than two thousand (2000) penalty units and not more than ten thousand penalty units in accordance with Section 92 (8) of Act 930.

Latest data from the Bank of Ghana shows that between April 2020 and April 2021, the number of Automated Teller Machines in the country increased from 2,187 to 2,254. The number of debit cards in the system over that same period also increased from 4.5 million to 4.6 million.

Click here to read the full document from the Bank of Ghana.

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