Tuesday, June 17, 2003

A Matter Of Choice

ATM cards were free.ATM-cum-debit cards aren't. Some like the add-ons, others don't need it. All have to pay. Fair? A debate.
Gautam Chikermane
But I don’t want power steering in my car... Yes, I know it will make driving easier... Yes, I know it’s the latest technology... Yes, I know it’s the future, but I’m perfectly happy with my current status... No, I don’t need any upgrades...
SOUNDS FAMILIAR? Isn’t this a common refrain, no matter what the product? If it’s not cars, it’s something else. In this case, it’s your ATM card, that kind piece of plastic that revolutionised banking and made your life so much simpler. Even better, it comes free. As it should, you’d imagine–after all, it’s only a tool that lets you access your own money. But it looks like the party may be over: some foreign banks have taken the lead in charging customers for the use of their new-generation ATM-cum-debit cards. Did you say: ‘...but I don’t need a debit card’. You are not alone, but these banks are not listening. When your plain-vanilla ATM card lapses, like it or not, you’ll be handed an ATM-cum-debit card, and billed Rs 100-150 a year for its use.
For most of you who read this magazine, paying Rs 100-150 a year will not hurt. (On the other hand, it will add up to Rs 30 crore to the profits of some of these banks.) It’s, then, a matter of principle that we are talking about.
Story in Outlook Money

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