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Vietnam banks will be fined if ATMs run out of cash

Vietnam banks will be fined if ATMs run out of cash

Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 15:45 GMT+7

Banks in Vietnam will be subject to a fine of up to VND15 million (US$707) as of December for a variety of violations related to the operation of their automated teller machines (ATMs), including when they run out of cash, according to a newly-released government decree.

Decree No.96, promulgated by the government on October 17, stipulates that any bank which leaves its ATMs empty, thus preventing withdrawals, will be fined VND10-15 million ($471-707) starting December 12, when the fiat takes effect.        Similar fines will also be levied on banks if any of their ATMs stops working for 24 hours without any notice, or if machines are installed, relocated, and terminated improperly.   

Installing an ATM in an area with a poor power system that may cause it to ‘swallow’ customer cards during a sudden power failure will also earn banks such fines.

Penalties will be imposed on banks that fail to have 24/7 customer support. 

The decree comes in the context that although many banks have increased their transaction charges since 2013, many local workers still have problems withdrawing their wages in cash, with very long lines greeting them at ATM booths in many regions across the country.

As a result, when ATM booths break down, which happens often due to high demand during salary-paying periods, workers are angered and put in a tough spot when it comes to covering daily expenses.

The new decree also stipulates that a fine of VND10-15 million will be slapped on anyone who sabotages or destroys Vietnamese bank notes.

For violations of regulations on the prevention of money laundering, the government said in the document that those establishing or maintaining anonymous accounts or accounts under false names will be liable for VND100 million ($4,700) to VND150 million ($7,000) in penalties. 

Providing unauthorized services that accept cash, checks or other monetary instruments in one place and give them to beneficiaries at another location will also be punishable by VND100-150 million fines.

In the gold business, a fine of VND30 million ($1,415) to VND60 million ($2,830) will be applied to those failing to publicly list the buying and selling prices of gold bars and gold jewelry and fine arts, or anyone who lists these figures in an unclear way, causing confusion for customers.

Trading in gold or carrying the precious metal into/out of the country against local regulations will lead to a fine of up to VND120 million ($5,660). 

Anyone trading in illegal gold bullion will be fined VND500 million ($23,585).

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has announced that local commercial banks issued over 74 million bank cards as of the end of August this year, of which about 4 percent was credit cards and 92 percent was debit cards, according to Reuters.

Local banks have also installed a combined 16,000 automated teller machines and more than 153,200 points for card transactions nationwide, the SBV said.

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