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Rs 200 notes: ATMs won’t dispense new denomination just yet

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-08-2017 Vivina Vishwanathan

Ganesh Chaurthi is a good day to launch a new currency note but those who were hoping that their ATM will spit out a crisp new Rs 200 note on Friday will turn away disappointed.

The first tranche of the new note issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday will be available at select RBI offices and banks. And Friday being a bank holiday in some parts of the country, the notes may not be available over the counter. It will take at least a week to get the new notes from ATMs.

This wait is due to the time it takes for ATM manufacturers to recalibrate their devices, given that there are over 200,000 ATMs in the country. A typical ATM has 3-4 cassettes, which are equipped to handle different denominations of notes. “To be able to provide Rs 200 denomination notes, the cassettes have to be reconfigured, which will take time. We still have not received these notes to understand the dimension for the configuration,” said Radha Rama Dorai, managing director – ATM and allied services, FIS.

Cassettes are small removable boxes that hold all the cash inside an ATM. Each cassette has to be configured to dispense a particular value. Currently, the ATMs can dispense Rs 100, and new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes. “Since the length of the new Rs 200 currency is different from the existing currency in circulation (Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000), cassette calibration is required to be done. ATM manufacturers need to do a complete testing of the new Rs 200 denomination currency and provide the parameters which need to be configured at the ATM by an engineer. At ATM switch level , we will require to do switch configuration and complete testing of new Rs 200 denomination currency before implementation,” said Himanshu Pujara, managing director, Euronet Services India Pvt. Ltd.

To reconfigure the ATMs, the ATM providers will first need to get the notes to know the dimension. Next, ATM providers and banks will have to check the supply of notes. Each cassette in an ATM can hold up to 2,500 notes. The ATM providers will not want to run the ATM below capacity. Hence, they will also ensure that the supply of Rs 200 denomination notes is good enough to run the cassettes at full capacity. This process will take a week at the minimum. To begin with, ATM providers will test the ATMs with the notes and get it approved. Next, their engineers will have to visit each ATM to configure the cassettes.

The RBI introduced the new currency denomination to ease cash transaction, replace soiled banknotes and to combat counterfeiting. The new denomination has the motif of Sanchi Stupa on the reverse and its base colour is bright yellow. The note will carry the signature of RBI governor Urjit Patel, the year of printing on the left, Swachh Bharat logo with the slogan. The dimension of the bank note will be 66mmx146mm.

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