Himalayan News Service

Pokhara, May 15:

Though many banks are getting displaced from rural areas due to insecurity, banks located in urban areas are competing with each other to lure in as many customers as they can. The heightened competition among banks has enabled customers to enjoy many new facilities.

Of late, Nepal Investment Bank, Pokhara branch, has started automated teller machine (ATM) service. This service enables bank customers to avail money transactions at their own time. Standard Chartered Bank had started an ATM service in the district in 2000 AD. The bank currently has 6,000 customers and 25 per cent among them are enjoying the ATM service, the bank informed.

In Nepal Investment Bank, bank accounts could be opened with Rs 5,000 and an annual fee of Rs 125 gives customers the facility to use ATM cards. According to the information given by Barun Shrestha, manager of Nepal Investment Bank of Pokhara, the bank has 350 customers at present and all of them are using ATM cards. Money could be transacted five times in a day. A maximum amount of Rs 0.2 million can be withdrawn in a day by using an ATM card. With this service in vogue, businessmen have become more relaxed while travelling

to other districts, especially Kathmandu. ATM cards can also be used in India. However, only Rs 25,000 IC can be withdrawn in a day.

Similarly, Standard Chartered Bank has diversified its service by opening an ATM counter at Lakeside. Apart from this, the bank has also started credit card service, which has facilitated many affluent families, the bank informed. To receive the credit card service, customers must have a good income or a personal vehicle. “We issue credit cards only to people who at least earn Rs 10,000 on a monthly basis,” said a high-level officer of the bank. “ Around 40 per cent of our customers are using credit cards and most of them are foreigners and rich people,” the officer added. The use of ATM and credit cards has increased because of the validity of cards in departmental stores. Bhagwan Bhattarai, accountant at Park and Shoppe Departmental Stores, said that business worth Rs 25,000 to 40,000 is done through cards though the service was made available only two years ago. He added that, of late, customers have become more enthusiastic in using cards for shopping. Even in Selwage Departmental Store and Niva Departmental Store, most customers use cards for making payments. Managing director of Selwage Departmental Store said that they have stopped keeping record of customers who use cards for payment.