Cash crunch at ATMs outside Dhaka as blockade lingers

ATM booth

Many ATMs located outside Dhaka are running short on cash due to the ongoing blockade and strike, leaving thousands of users in trouble.

In Dhaka, automated teller machines were sufficiently loaded with cash.

Around 40 percent of the 5,000 ATMs are located outside the capital, according to the central bank.

“It’s getting difficult to refill the ATMs outside Dhaka with cash as transportation is a big problem,” said Kazi Saifuddin Munir, managing director of ITC Ltd that runs the Q-Cash Consortium to provide ATM services.

Q-Cash has 2,200 ATMs of its own and the number goes to 3,500 machines under a consortium of 26 banks. Abul Kashem Mohammad Shirin, deputy managing director of Dutch-Bangla Bank that operates the second biggest network with 2,000 machines, said transporting cash to ATMs outside Dhaka has become a challenge. “We take police protection while loading ATMs in the capital, but such protection is not always available in remote areas.” He said 80 percent of DBBL’s cash is carried by four security firms, but they cannot load ATMs in remote areas for security reasons.

Daily average transaction through DBBL was Tk 100 crore in December, which slipped to Tk 95 crore in January, Shirin said.

Munir said average transaction through Q-Cash Consortium remains almost unchanged at Tk 250 crore a day.