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Do you know what your ATM can do for you?

Last updated on: June 9, 2011 09:49 IST

Do you know what your ATM can do for you?

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Pheji Phalghunan, Outlook Money


A machine that spat money! Automated teller machines (ATMs) were a thing of wonder in the 1990s. But that was then.

Today, a visit to the nearest ATM can help you accomplish a myriad of tasks, such as utility payments, pre-paid mobile recharge, credit card payments, tax payments and others, whilst acting as a cash point too.

Bankers also testify that ATMs are now an integral part of the bank's service delivery network.

Says Shalini Mehta, executive vice president, Kotak Mahindra Bank: "Subsequent to the Reserve Bank of India's free price regime, ATMs have become more powerful than before in terms of evolving as one of the preferred medium of customers for their banking needs."

She adds that, at Kotak, close to 32 per cent of the total bank transactions are conducted through the ATM channel.

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Photographs: Reuters
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According to the BuzzBack survey, commissioned by NCR Corporation, an ATM manufacturer, 46 per cent of Indians are more likely to choose one financial institution over another if they make it easier for them to personalise and control, when, where and how you interact through your preferred channel.

But are all customers aware of the various facilities available? "Not really," says Sumant Kathpalia, head, consumer banking, IndusInd Bank, adding that customers still use ATMs for withdrawal of cash and balance inquiry.

He says: "As banks continue to invest more in branchless banking by way of debit card and ATM penetration, backed by 24x7 contact centre support and other market education enablers, we will see the migration of usage to value-added transaction services being provided."

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Save that trip

A month starts with a horde of bills. But now, you can use your 24x7 ATM kiosk at your convenience to make payments at zero cost, at your convenience.

So, even if you have missed the banking hours or your Internet link is down, you can still carry on with these payments and purchases without a hitch.

Says Mehta: "Banks are consciously driving the usage of these services on ATMs with customers so that it reduces their time in visiting bank branches or service provider outlets."

Pay your credit card bill: You can pay your credit card bill through your bank ATM, using your debit card. This facility is useful only if both your credit and debit cards are of the same bank.

Type the amount you want to pay and the fund gets immediately transferred. You can collect your confirmatory receipt from the ATM machine.

An over-the-counter transaction for the same comes for a fee. For example, HDFC Bank charges Rs 50 and ICICI Bank Rs 100 if you opt to pay over the counter.

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Pay your utility bills: You can pay electricity and phone bills, insurance premiums, and so on, through your ATM and save more.

For example, if you are located in Mumbai, Reliance Energy gives you a discount of 0.5 per cent on the bill amount, subject to a maximum discount of Rs 250 per bill; Mahanagar Gas gives 1 per cent discount and MTNL 1 per cent discount subject to a maximum of Rs 250 per bill if you opt to pay through the BillPay facility of HDFC Bank. The discount will be accounted for in your next bill.

Using BillPay, you can pay bills for five different electricity consumer numbers, five different phone (landline + cellular) numbers and five different insurance policies.

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Pay your tax: Register your debit card with your bank's website for ATM payment of your tax. This registration will help validate your Permanent Account Number (PAN) and your Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN), provided to taxpayers with National Securities Depositories (NSDL).

Says J V Avadhani, senior manager, alternate channels, Union Bank of India: "After this one-time registration, you can go to our ATM and surf the income tax menu, which will display your PAN number and ask for the tax amount that is to be paid along with item-wise details of any other amount you may want to include in the tax payment. The tax amount you have chosen will be debited from your account and the ATM will generate a receipt with a special number (SIN). After 24 hours, you can go back to the Union Bank website and submit the SIN number and download and print the challan."

Quote this SIN when you file your tax return online later.

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Pay your application/tuition fees: Most educational institutions allow you to pay their application or tuition fee through a selected bank ATM. You will have to register yourself first at the ATM, which is a one-time procedure.

Ensure that you have collected the transaction slip after transferring the money. Universities, such as IIT Kharagpur, NITK Suratkal, IIT Madras, have a tie up with State Bank of India (SBI).

Other banks, such as Karur Vysya Bank, offer a platform to pay the fee for a host of institutes.

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Apart from these payments, an ATM offers a variety of services:

Open an FD: Now, you can open a fixed deposit (FD) account without visiting a branch or writing a cheque, right at the ATM. ICICI Bank allows you to open an FD for 390, 590 and 990 days with the prevailing interest date of the day.

You will get an FD receipt within seven working days.

Donate. Certain banks, such as SBI , allow you to donate funds to charity or temple trusts through ATMs. (For more, see At Your Fingertips).

What's in store?

Says Jaivinder Gill, managing director, NCR Corp: "Future ATMs will not be restricted to standard ATM transactions, but provide services that include booking hotels, concierge, social networking, travel, and entertainment options such as browsing and downloading digital content."

He says the near-field communication (NFC) technology would soon be introduced in India through which consumers can use their cellphone to connect with the ATM and authenticate their identity.

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Here are a few tips to make the most of your ATM:

1. If you have a habit of withdrawing a particular denomination every time, use the fast cash option to save your time.

2. Asking for mini-balance statements regularly will help you keep a track of all your transactions and ensure that there is no discrepancy in your account.

3. Check with your bank and biller if they have any discount plans for customers who opt to pay utility bills through ATM.

4. Register/update your mobile number for bank records through your ATM to receive regular updates.

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At your fingertips

An ATM doesn't just churn out cash. Here's what else you can do:

Railway/air tickets: Bid adieu to queues at railway stations and walk into the ATM installed there to purchase your ticket. State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda are a few who offer this facility.

Airline tickets are also available through ATMs. For example, Kingfisher airline tickets can be booked through Karur Vysya Bank ATMs.

Fast Cash: HDFC Bank claims to give cash 40 per cent faster than other bank ATM by registering your most frequently withdrawn amount, along with the account and preferred language. Just enter your PIN and select 'MyFavourite'. This service reduces the number of steps for withdrawing cash from nine to five.

Standard Chartered Bank offers this facility under 'Express Cash' and ICICI Bank allows you to withdraw Rs 5,000 at one go under the 'Ultra Fast Cash' scheme.

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Currency denominations: An IndusInd Bank customer can choose the denominations of notes he wants.

The 'Choice Money' facility allows both customers and non-customers of the bank to select the currency denomination of choice between 100, 500 and 1,000 at its ATMs.

Recharge your mobile: Just take a walk to your ATM. Type in your mobile number and fill in the amount you want to get recharged for.

Within seconds, your will receive an SMS confirming the recharge. Now, you can avoid the hassles of withdrawing cash and searching for a retailer for buying a recharge card.

Transfer your funds: HDFC Bank allows you to transfer money between your accounts which are linked to your ATM/Debit card. The bank allows a maximum of 16 savings/current accounts to be linked to a card.

ICICI Bank allows you to transfer up to Rs 1 lakh (Rs 100,000) a day. This cap may vary from bank to bank.


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