The Reserve bank of India has given in-principle approval to seven companies to roll out White Label ATMs last month.

White Label ATM (WLA) operator is a non-bank entity which can set up, own and operate an automated teller machine (ATM) as extended delivery channels. The RBI gave final guidelines for prospective WLA operators in August last year.

“Seven companies have been given authorisation (to set up WLAs) while five were given in December last year, taking the total to 12. As soon as they get their act together, they will be in operation,” said Vijay Chugh, Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, at the sidelines of a conference hosted by Discover Financial Services and National Payments Corporation of India.

“Of the total 19 applicants, 17 have been found eligible, 12 have been given the authorisation. We expect one or two operators to kick-start business in the next few months. One of them is Tata (Communications Banking InfraSolutions),” Chugh said.

About 1.5 lakh ATMs can be rolled out in the next three years and two million PoS (Point-of-Sale) terminals in two years if all the 17 companies start functioning. That is the expectation, he added.

Under the RBI guidelines, the authorisation for setting up a WLA operation would be initially valid for a period of one year under three schemes — A, B and C — which specify the rural to semi-urban ATM ratio for network expansion. WLA operators are allowed to charge their customers as per the banks’ charges. Currently, banks are not allowed to charge the customers for the first five transactions in other bank ATMs. Above that, banks levy Rs 15 for cash withdrawal and Rs 5 for balance enquiry.

Beena.parmar@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 5, 2013)
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