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In Vietnam, traffic jams may be to blame for ATM cash shortage

Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 11:02 GMT+7

While Vietnamese banks have prepared solutions to prevent ATM cash shortage during the season of high demand in the upcoming holidays, they admit that plans could go wrong due to such objective reasons as traffic gridlock.

That ATMs break down and run out of money en masse during the season of high demand such as Christmas, New Year and Tet has happened for years, as demand for withdrawal doubles from normal days.

Banks have always promised to replenish their machines with sufficient amounts of money, but ATM overload still occurs during holiday times in Vietnam.

Salaried workers in Vietnam are paid by card, but most will withdraw cash for use as non-cash payment remains unpopular to most local residents.

At a meeting on Tuesday, Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the State Bank of Vietnam, ordered that banks citywide ensure smooth operations for their ATMs during the holidays and have timely solutions to handle any problems that may arise.

Many bank representatives at the meeting told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper they are speeding up preparations to prevent ATM breakdown and overload as the New Year’s Day is around the corner.

Vietcombank and Samcobank said they will refill their ATMs even out of office time.

“We will not wait until the ATM runs out of cash to start the refill,” Le Huynh Ha, head of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of Vietcombank, said.

“We will keep track of the ATMs on the computer system and will start replenish them when there are at least VND400 million [US$17,857] left.”

However, Ha admitted that the biggest concern is the heavy traffic across the city.

“There are cases when we could not reach the out-of-order or out-of-cash machines on time due to the traffic jams,” he said.

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