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    ATMs: Clear Accounts Keep Customers Satisfied?

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    Cajeros automáticos: Cuentas claras conservan clientes ¿satisfechos?

    The past  August 1st., when Lourdes La Rosa left the branch of the Bank of Credit and Commerce (Bandec) in Ciego de Ávila, located at the intersection of Independencia and Maceo streets, in the provincial capital, at the stroke of noon, she knew that she had just been in the right place and time, after carrying in his wallet the cash that, at the last minute, he decided to take out.

    Outside, the comment did nothing more than confirm the scenario that was being experienced at that time in ATMs: “the connection is lousy”, that is why some alternated to see in which they were surprised by the blow of luck.

    Too bad, he didn't leave home with the same joy last Sunday. The first ones he reached were not providing service due to an interruption in the electrical service; the second appeared in maintenance until the third time was the charm, about to run out of options in the penultimate block of the boulevard.

    Rolando Corbea Sánchez, provincial director of Bandec, does not let her lie, when he admits that the 10 ATMs that his Bank operates in this province have given him more than one headache and, in the order of causes, he prioritizes the constant electrical interruptions , for not having an energy backup that allows them to continue providing service.

    Once the electricity cut occurs, as Corbea Sánchez and Noraida González Mellor, director of the Popular Savings Bank (BPA), point out, everything is reduced to the availability of fuel, which is not always available, to start the generator sets enabled in each bank branch.

    To this must be added that, when the fluid is restored, the system does not always respond. In that case, the manager points out, the provisions are to restart it and if the situation continues, communication is established with the Red S.A. Payment Service Financial Institution. (REDSA) —in charge at the national level of the ATM network— to restart it, a process that, in general, can take time.

    However, the situation has been more critical this month, in part, because "on the 1st, REDSA presented instability in the operation and availability of the network, which made the service impossible, with the consequent dissatisfaction of the clients, who returned to be affected for the same reason this Tuesday.”

    As if that were not enough, breakages are also added to the list of fatalities, from which devices with several years of exploitation in tow cannot escape.

    The urgency of solutions in these cases can be understood when the director of the BPA is heard saying that "if an ATM breaks on a Saturday, you don't wait until Monday to fix it, it has to depend on a piece that we don't have in the province" , and that should not be the most common obstacle, judging by what his counterpart from Bandec declares, when he speaks that "in recent years it has been possible to create a stock of spare parts".

    The matter would not be so complicated if we were not talking about the fact that, to date, the BPA has issued 222,502 magnetic cards —of which 35,479 correspond to retirees and 21,487 to workers with direct payroll— which add up to the 258,119 issued by Bandec, numbers that translate into people who, probably, have had to resort to the 22 ATMs that the province has, in just three municipalities, to obtain liquid money.

    To get an idea of ​​what this means: in September of last year, INVASOR accounted for 23,951 operations carried out on this equipment, only by Bandec clients, while now its director speaks of some 68,200 as a monthly average, data that they end up confirming a truth that has been around for a few years now: the availability of ATMs has dwarfed the ever-increasing demand.

    Not for pleasure, Noraida says that in its branches they have had days of having to enable cash up to three times a day, especially on payment dates to retirees or companies, because "there is no fixed number, the filling is due to the demand and it is even done on weekends”, as it should be. Which does not mean that there are still those who stumble over the fact that the ATM does not have money.

    That the cash runs out so quickly, the director of Bandec attributes it, in part, to "the difficulties that currently exist with the high denominations (1000.00 and 500.00 CUP bills), which has forced to set as maximum denomination in the drawers 200.00 CUP, which results in the ATM being charged with the same number of bills, but with a smaller amount of money”.

    I wish that had been the reason why these days a few have returned home with empty pockets, and not because of a stuck card or a discounted balance without money in hand, which has forced them to return. These stories also abound, as Rafael Suárez recounts, who this Wednesday, withdrawing cash at the ATMs on the boulevard, cost him a two-hour wait, among other reasons, because "the ATM swallowed one of the cards." That is why Corbea Sánchez does not hesitate to admit that it usually happens and recommends that, in the event that the balance is deducted and the cashier does not disburse the tickets, they wait up to 72 hours before making the claim.

    It is not a matter of whim, he clarifies, but rather “since it is an accounting system, as there is a mismatch between credit and debit, many times the system itself reimburses the money before three days. If this does not happen, the person can go to the bank, where he will be duly attended and the money will be returned to his card, never in cash. However, the process is finally complicated and takes time away from what, many times, you do not have.

    The obstacles, the queues, the dissatisfaction... with the ATM service is a reality that is obvious today and, in the absence of solutions that sometimes get out of hand, the manager reminds customers that the Cash can be withdrawn in the same way at the tellers of the bank branches and at the CADECA offices, where it will be necessary to present, in addition to the magnetic card, the identity document.

    In the midst of a complex panorama in which the computerization of society seeks to make its way, it would help a lot if services such as Caja Extra—available since last April in 56 wineries in the province—would just wake up, or to make a payment for implemented electronic platforms will not be a box of surprises. This is to avoid falling into the POS that, in many places, still do not solve any problem because they do not work, or simply, nothing is done to make it work.

    That withdrawing money from an ATM is a torment that many Ciego de Ávila citizens face today out of sheer necessity, implies objective causes that no one dares to deny; however, this will never justify that a banking entity lacks timely information, guidance or good treatment of customers who, more than by right, deserve it out of respect, so that the accounts between the two can continue to be clear.