White Label ATM: An Analysis


White Label ATM or White Label Automated Teller Machines or WLAs in India will be owned and operated by Non Bank entities. It is customer’s friendly and they can withdraw money from any bank, but will need to pay a fee for the services. These white label automated teller machines (ATMs) will not display logo of any particular bank and are likely to be located in nontraditional places.

Reserve Bank of India has authorized three non-banking entities for setting up white label ATMs with a view to increase financial inclusion. Certificates of authorization has been issued to BTI Payments Pvt Ltd, Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd, and RiddiSiddhi Bullions Ltd.

The concept of White Label ATMs are very popular in Canada. From 2006 , few banks in India trying to introduce WLA through RBI. Finally On 14th February, 2012, RBI has issued DRAFT guidelines and asked the comments of the bankers and public in this regard. Thus, these guidelines are still not applicable but are likely to be soon approved.

Purposes of WLA in India

In India, only Banks are allowed to set up ATMs. From 2008 – 2011, there has been continuous growth in number of ATMs and by the beginning of 2012, it goes 87,000 ATMs across in India and also increasing day-by-day. Therefore, RBI with the help of private operators trying to expand ATM network. So that rural-town-urban centre wired into this ATMs facilities.

The white label automated teller machines is not only beneficial to customers but also to the banks. After  the expansion of ATM network, customers will be able to withdraw funds at more locations which will be convenient and located near to their home or place of work. Banks too support introduction of white label ATMs as such machines are likely to reduce pre-transaction cost for them and will be free from the problems relating to maintaining and running such a payment channel.

Services through WLA

  • Any customer from belonging to any bank, can use it.
  • Every month, Five transactions are free.
  • White label ATM users can also withdraw a maximum of 10,000 per transaction.
  • Open 24/7 and on holidays
  • Value added services like mobile recharge, utility bill payments etc

 

General Criteria for non-bank entities authorized by RBI

  • The authorized non-bank entity, also called WLA Operator, would have the freedom to choose the location of the WLA. However, it will adhere to annual targets and the ratio of WLA between Tier I &II and Tier III-VI centres that may be stipulated by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Only the Cards issued by banks would be permitted to be used at the WLAs to start with.
  • Acceptance of deposits at the WLA site into the account of the WLA operator or in any other account indicated by it shall not be permitted.
  • The WLA Operator will be the “acquirer” for all transactions at the WLA and earn his fee accordingly.
  • The WLA Operator would be permitted to earn extra revenue through advertisement and by offering value added services. The advertisements placed on such ATMs would be subject to Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) codes and other regulations.
  • Being non-bank owned ATMs, the guidelines on five free transactions in a month for using other bank ATMs would not be applicable for transactions effected on the WLAs. The charges for the transactions should be displayed on the screen before the customer initiates the transaction.
  • The WLA Operator would not be entitled to any other fee from issuer bank other than the “Interchange” fee payable to “acquirer” bank under the present bank owned ATM scenario. The WLA Operator shall also not be permitted to charge any fee from the customers for the use of the ATM resources.
  • Regulatory guidelines relating to compensation for failed ATM transactions would apply to transactions at WLAs.
  • General guidelines governing the operations of the bank operated ATMs would apply mutatis mutandis to WLAs.

Conclusion:

The concept of WLA is just for the convenient concern of Apex institution(RBI) by blessing the shower of people-centric policy. The primary objective of permitting non-banks to operate WLAs, RBI just trying  to enhance the spread of ATMs in semi-urban and rural areas (mainly in tier III to VI areas), where bank-owned ATM penetration was not growing. Under the new guidelines, certain minimum number of WLAs need to be installed in these areas within a year as per the scheme opted by the respective operators.

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