Mission impossible? Banks must provide hand sanitiser at all ATMs - TechCentral

Mission impossible? Banks must provide hand sanitiser at all ATMs

It is now mandatory for local banks to make hand sanitisers available at all 30 000 ATMs in South Africa. This new stipulation was gazetted on 17 June as part of the changes made to the Disaster Management Act regulations introduced by minister of cooperative governance & traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The new regulation aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 comes despite the banking industry pointing out that providing sanitisers at ATMs is far easier said than done.

The Banking Association of South Africa (Basa) says that as 70% of the country’s 30 000 ATMs are situated in “remote locations and on premises that are not owned by banks, such as petrol-station forecourts, in malls, and in shops in more remote communities”, the banks do not have direct control over these machines.

Even so, the new regulations mean banks will be held responsible for providing sanitiser at locations they have no direct control over. The regulation makes it clear that they have to “take reasonable steps to ensure implementation of these provisions by third parties hosting ATMs … through appropriate agreements”.

In a statement released earlier this year, the association said banks have tried to deploy hand sanitiser to remote ATMs, but found this strategy was “unsustainable due to pilferage and vandalism”.

‘Reasonable steps’

The changes to the regulations also require the banks to take “reasonable steps” to ensure that social distancing protocols are observed by anyone queuing to use an ATM. Here again, Basa says this is a regulation the banks will struggle to implement.

“As there are no bank staff in the vicinity of many remote ATMs it is not practically possible for banks to monitor and enforce social distance queuing at ATMs. The placement of social distance markers by banks may also be an issue as these ATMs are not within bank property and are subject to the restrictions of the premise’s owner.”

Basa says banks are taking the following steps to steps to ensure that the spread of Covid-19 is mitigated:

  • Placing social distance markers and messaging to create awareness around ATMs where practical and possible.
  • Cleaning and sanitising of ATMs attached to branches regularly during branch operating hours; banks will continue to ensure the sanitisation of these ATMs and provide hand sanitisers for customers.

ATMs not attached to branches are cleaned and sanitised by external cleaning companies or landlords, where they are located, and by the cash-in-transit companies that service the ATMs.

  • This article was originally published on Moneyweb and is used here with permission

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