Are white label ATMs any different from bank ATMs?

Typically, white label ATMs, or WLAs, are the ATMs set up and operated by a non-bank. As a customer, one can use these machines just as a regular ATM. WLAs offer debit card services such as cash withdrawal and enquiry.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) authorizes non-bank ATM operators under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

Some companies that offer WLA services in India are Tata Communications Payment Solutions Ltd, India1 Payments Ltd and Hitachi Payment Services Pvt. Ltd.

The need for WLAs: Banks generally have to incur various costs to set up ATMs. It may include ATM systems, security and cash management costs. There are many places where a bank branch may not exist, and in such a case, the bank might not find it lucrative to have its own ATM. So, RBI allowed WLAs to operate.

Services: Besides dispensing cash, WLAs may also offer many other services and facilities to users. Such services include account information, cash deposit, bill payment, mini statement, PIN change and placing requests for cheque books.

Transaction limits and charges: Using a WLA is just like using an ATM of any bank. If you are within your free ATM transaction limit, you will not be charged anything extra. RBI has set the free transaction limit for metro cities at three transactions and for non-metro cities at five. However, banks can provide customers with more free transactions if they hold premium bank accounts.

Adhil Shetty, chief executive officer,, said credit and debit cards issued by banks in India could be used at any ATM or WLA. Transaction charges at WLAs remain the same as for any bank ATM use. For instance, if a bank provides you five free financial transactions in a month at ATMs , this would include both ATMs of other banks and WLAs.

RBI has categorized transactions into two types: On-Us transactions and Off-Us transactions. Transactions at a bank’s own ATMs are On-Us transactions. Banks permit you a minimum of five free financial transactions a month, irrespective of the location of ATMs. There is no limit or charge on non-cash withdrawal transactions.

Off-Us transactions, or transactions on ATMs of other providers, are further divided based on their location in metro and non-metro cities. Banks offer you a minimum of three free transactions (including financial and non-financial transactions) in a month as Off-Us transactions at metro locations. The metro locations are Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi.

On Off-Us transactions at non-metro locations, i.e., places other than the six metros, banks will permit you five free transactions a month. These include financial and non-financial transactions.

“Some WLA operators set up ATMs and lease them to banks. In such cases, these ATMs are considered bank ATMs, and they allow free transactions up to their respective limits,” added Shetty.

Further, customers can be charged for transactions at ATMs over and above the mandated number of free transactions. At present, as per RBI regulations, these charges cannot exceed 20 per transaction (plus applicable taxes, if any) by the issuing bank.

Transaction failure: Nowadays, banks usually reverse failed transactions on their own within a few minutes.

However, you should always try to lodge a complaint with the card-issuing bank or ATM owner bank at the earliest if you do not get the reversal amount instantaneously.

In case of an unsuccessful ATM transaction, you should complain about the card-issuing bank or ATM owner bank at the earliest.

“The WLAs display the contact details of the concerned officers and toll-free numbers or help desk numbers on the ATM premises, and you can raise a complaint using those details,” said Shetty.

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