At the end of November, there were 684 cash recycling machines,
Deployment of cash recycling machines is gaining momentum in Bangladesh, thanks in part to the global coronavirus pandemic that has made banks embrace the equipment in a bid to reduce gatherings at branches for cash deposit and withdrawal purpose.
The CRM is a smarter form of the automated teller machine that enables real-time banking by not only dispensing but also accepting/depositing cash.
In March, when the rogue virus made its way to Bangladesh, the total number of such ATMs stood at 266. At the end of November, the tally went up 684, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank.
Just as cash withdrawal at an ATM reflects in the account balance immediately, the cash deposit in the CRM also takes place in real-time and the transaction reflects in the bank account straight away.
When the cash is deposited, a cash recycler counts the currency notes and displays the amount denomination wise and the total amount inserted in the machine for deposit.
Once it displays the amount, the customer needs to confirm if the amount is correct, and the transaction will then be complete. The customer will then get a receipt displaying the updated account balance.
In November, such transactions crossed the Tk 1,000 crore-mark for the first time.
Transactions through CRM stood at Tk 1,167.1 crore in November last year, up more than 5.5 times from a year earlier and 31.8 per cent from the previous month.
For banks, CRMs provide an economical way of cash management: the deposited cash is used in subsequent withdrawal transactions, so the frequency of cash loading and replenishment of the ATMs is minimised.
This reduced the cash-in-transit (CIT), cash sorting and cash handling costs.
The CRMs accept Tk 100, Tk 500 and Tk 1,000 denomination notes and will return torn, taped or mutilated notes. It also checks for counterfeit notes during both cash deposits and cash withdrawals.
CRMs are particularly popular in neighbouring India, thanks in part to its central bank subsidising 50 per cent of the cost of the machine or Rs 2 lakh or whichever is lower for urban centres and 60 per cent of the actual cost of the machine in semi-urban areas and rural areas or Rs 2.5 lakh whichever is lower.
In Bangladesh, the first CRM was installed by City Bank in 2017.
Today, United Commercial Bank, Southeast Bank, Mutual Trust Bank,Eastern Bank, Islami Bank, Standard Chartered, NCC Bank and National Bank have deployed CRMs all over the country.
Southeast Bank has installed 80 CRMs all over the country and the bank plans to install 70 more, said its Managing Director M. Kamal Hossain.
“We are installing CRM in the branches that are more crowded,” he said, adding that banking through branches will minimise in the upcoming days.
CRM is smarter than an ATM as it enables real-time banking, which makes banking transactions easier, said Naser Ezaz Bijoy, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered, which installed the country’s first ATM back in 1993.
Since November, Standard Chartered has installed 12 CRMs in the country.
“The use of cards and ATMs is increasing gradually but the ongoing pandemic has bumped up the rate.”
CRMs are handier as cash deposit takes place in real-time and the transaction reflects in the bank account straight away, he added.
“We are now getting huge responses from banks for CRMs amid the pandemic,” said Joshoda Jibon Debnath, MD of Technomedia, which supplies ATMs, CRMs and real-time cash deposit machines (CDMs).
Recently, a dozen banks including Dutch-Bangla Bank, Dhaka Bank and Bank Asia have placed orders for CRMs with Technomedia, he said.
Dhaka Bank’s maiden CRM would be deployed in the next month, said its MD Emranul Huq.
CRMs cost three times more than a regular ATM but the amount of cost-saving that a bank would make over time would even things out, according to Debnath.
There is no alternative to CRMs if banks want to bring down their operational costs, Debnath added.