Cash Briefs: Withdrawals at Shop Tills Mulled; Cabinet Says Central Bank's Job Is Not to Ensure ATM Availability
Shops and banks in Estonia are mulling the option of allowing cash withdrawals from shop tills, as more rural bank branches are being closed.
If there is sufficient interest, Swedbank is willing to try debit card cashback starting in the fall, bank spokesman Mart Siilivask told uudised.err.ee on Wednesday.
SEB Bank has also considered the option, but has decided against it due to a lack of interest.
According to the PR manager of the Selver supermarket chain, around 70 percent of purchases are paid for by card and as a rule, there is an ATM near the shops, but the option of making cash withdrawals available at tills can be developed in co-operation with banks, provided there is enough customer interest.
The service fees would be 1.5 percent of the transaction, with the minimum set at one euro.
Controversy recently hit Swedbank, after it moved to close its rural branches.
The Cabinet rejected a proposal by IRL that would have given the central bank the right to dictate terms to commercial banks regarding the means they used to make cash available to the deposit holders.
The idea was to give the central bank the additional obligation to ensure that cash is available in smaller municipalities that have been toying with the idea of closing branches and ATMs.
"The Cabinet hasn't deemed it necessary to this point to intervene in the principles for ensuring financial services by the private sector and how the prices are formed," said the Government Office.
"To this point, companies including banks have complied with the vald regulations and there is no market failure. Payment services are cash are available in more than 80 percent of Estonia's [over 200] municipalities by way of branches, banking bus or ATM."
IRL's Helir-Valdor Seeder had said the party's proposal would create incentive to create a unified ATM network, instead of the current overlapping scheme.