Money does not come out of the wall: Problems occur very often at ATMs

ATMs were out of service much more frequently last month than banks had promised. On average, one in 20 Geldmaat machines, or 5.7 percent of machines, were faulty in September. This emerges from data collected by NOS together with regional broadcasters.

Geldmaat, a company that manages and maintains machines for the three major banks, confirms there will be further disruptions and admits it will be difficult to reach the standard the banks have agreed for the full year 2023. Last year this standard was not reached.

“We are faced with situations we did not expect,” says Peggy Corstens from Geldmaat. According to him, there have been problems lately due to missing parts. “Practice is stubborn.”

The Ministry of Finance regrets the substandard services and is working on legislation that would force banks to provide more ATMs.

Residents of Nieuwendijk in North Brabant, for example, realized what poor service means in practice, with the local Geldmaat out of service seven times in the last few weeks. The longest outage lasted 2 weeks. “He almost never does this,” says one resident. “So I go to Almkerk, six kilometers away, for cash.”

In recent years, the number of ATMs available to those who want to withdraw money has gradually decreased. Banks closed branches and removed ATMs. To ensure cash remains available, banks agreed that no more than 2.5 percent of remaining ATMs should be out of service on average.

This goal is far from achieved. An even stricter standard applies to machines where there are no other machines nearby. On average, at most 2 percent of machines could break, but in reality this rate was almost 5 percent.

“We are doing everything we can to keep our promise,” says Corstens van Geldmaat. According to him, there were other disruptions in September due to problems with certain parts of some machines. This part was difficult to obtain and therefore malfunctions could not be resolved quickly.

“Delivery times are long,” says Corstens. “This means some machines will remain down for longer than desired. “We hope the issues will be resolved within a few weeks.”

Last year, cash handling company Brinks experienced problems due to staff shortages, but these problems no longer occur.

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The Dutch central bank monitors whether banks comply with the agreements. The chief is aware of the problems but says he can only respond to the parties involved. The Dutch central bank does not have the authority to impose measures.

“Nederlandsche Bank knows how to take a critical note but is also aware of the complexity we are dealing with,” says Corstens.

Source: NOS