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ATM sanitising top priority for banks

ATMs attached to banks are sanitised regularly, whereas remote ATMs are sanitised by contract cleaning companies

BANKING Association South Africa (Basa) is committed to creating a safe environment for their clients and has undertaken to continue implementing practical measures aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 at automated teller machines (ATMs).

Chairperson of the Basa Board of Directors, Richard Wainwright, said these measures include placing social distance markers and messaging to create awareness around ATMs.

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Wainwright said all ATMs attached to branches are cleaned and sanitised regularly during branch operating hours.

‘Banks will continue to ensure the sanitisation of these ATMs and provide hand sanitisers for customers,’ he said.

He added that all ATMs not attached to branches are cleaned and sanitised by external cleaning companies or landlords where they are located.

‘They are also cleaned by cash-in-transit companies that service the ATMs.

South Africa has an estimated 30 000 ATMs, of which about 70% are situated in remote locations and at premises not owned by banks, such as petrol station forecourts, malls and in shops in more remote communities.

‘This creates a number of challenges for banks when complying with the adjusted Level 3 regulations. Banks have, since the onset of the pandemic, attempted to deploy hand sanitisers to remote ATMs and found this to be unsustainable because of pilferage and vandalism,’ Wainwright said.

‘As there is no bank staff in the vicinity of many remote ATMs, it is not practically possible for banks to monitor and enforce social distance queuing.

‘The placement of social distance markers by banks may also be an issue as some ATMs are not within bank property, and are subject to the restrictions of the premises owner.’

Wainwright said, despite these challenges, banks are committed to improving the frequency of ATM sanitisation, and, to the best of their ability, ensure that hand sanitisers are available at remote locations.

‘ATMs are one of the most convenient ways for people to access their money and banking services. Banks are working with the government to keep ATMs safe, especially for those who rely on them for services, such as social security grant payments and to access their earnings and cash.

‘Basa will engage with the relevant government departments to revise the wording of the regulations so that banks are only responsible for enforcing the regulations where it is practical, possible and within their control.

‘As banks cannot be non-compliant with regulations, an unintended consequence of banks having to comply with the regulations in their current form, could be the removal of non-compliant ATMs from service.

‘In remote areas where banks cannot enforce Covid-19 protocols, we highlight the president’s call for individuals to take personal responsibility and wear face masks, keep social distancing and sanitise regularly,’ Wainwright said.

 

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