BENGALURU: The wait for cheque books and ATM cards in the city is getting longer. The reason? Demonetisation. Cheque books, which were earlier issued within seven days, now take more than a fortnight because of the sudden spike in demand.
Though demonetisation has forced a number of businessmen to opt for various cashless transaction modes like PoS machines and digital wallets, technical glitches have led to most of them insisting on cheque payment for transactions above `1,000.
“We are now receiving applications for nearly 30 chequebooks every day compared to less than five per day before demonetisation. This is mainly because a majority of account holders are now withdrawing money through cheques. And, most people are now dependent on cheques for big transactions because of the shortage of cash,” said an SBI branch manager in the central business district.
All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C H Venkatachalam told Express that banks across the country are receiving an unprecedented increase in the number of applications for new cheque books after the demonetisation.
“Now, it takes more than a month to get new cheque books because of the huge demand from customers. But unfortunately, bank employees are becoming the targets of angry customers’ wrath for no faults of theirs. The shortage of cheque books will get worse in the coming days because of the shortage of cash in the market,” he said.
Many residents in the city are worried. “I have to pay 10 months rent advance to my landlord as security deposit, but I don’t have any cheque book. I have applied for it a week ago but I don’t know when will I get it,” said Akshay M, a resident of J P Nagar.
Many shopkeepers said transactions through PoS machines and digital wallets are cumbersome, which is forcing them to accept cheques for transactions. “We are facing several technical glitches like poor server connectivity while using card swiping machines and digital wallets. There are several instances of customers not getting a receipt of payment despite money being deducted from their accounts,” said Nasir Khan, who runs a furniture shop in Commercial Street.
He added, “I am now telling customers to pay by cheque but still there is a drastic decline in the number of customers after demonetisation.”
Another vendor, Muneer Sheerif, said, “I am not using any card swiping machine or digital wallets because of the high transaction fee. They are charging more than 2 per cent on the total amount. So I am asking customers to pay by cheque and they are also happy to pay without transaction fee. I am also paying the wholesale dealer by cheque”.
Meanwhile, there are complaints of cheque bounce cases too. “I received a cheque from a customer for `65,000 but it was dishonoured in the bank due to a signature mismatch. I had to make several calls to inform him that his cheque bounced and also to pay the money in cash. After that experience, I have decided to deal mostly in cash except for regular customers. But now, the government is forcing us to go cashless,” said Raj Kumar, a vendor in Shivajinagar.