POS machine shortage worries banks
POS Terminals
19-12-2016 00:00:00
POS machine shortage worries banks

It's not just cash that may be in short with banks. Officials dealing in point of sale (POS) machines at banks said there is a sizeable backlog in deliveries as against the orders.


As even petty businessmen such as vegetable vendors are looking to go cashless, a sudden rise in the demand for POS machines has led to its shortage too. Bankers say there is a demand from semi-urban areas too.


There are four manufacturers of the machine and even the industry is not able to meet the banks' demands, sources said.


Sources in State Bank Of India (SBI), which is the market leader in POS, said the sale of swipe machines has gone up by ten times in Nagpur region, which covers Vidarbha, ever since demonetisation. 


"Previously, we pushed digital banking and asked people to set up POS machines. But it is the other way and there has been a shortage of POS machines since the last one month," sources said.


"Even vegetable vendors and customers from hinterland are looking forward to install POS machines. Before demonetisation, our target was to sell 100 POS machines till March. The figure gas already reached 350," said a source in another PSU bank, adding, "The demand is much more than the supply. We are delivering machines in batches of 50, but the backlog remains."


A manager at a new generation PSU bank said, "We received about 450 applications from traders to avail this facility after November 8. We faced shortage in the first 15 days, but we are able to meet the demand now."


"At least eight persons turn up in a day to enquire about POS machines," said a source in a private bank. "There is no shortage of the POS machines in the bank. The demand is expected to stabilize in the coming days," he said.


"Doctors running small clinics and petty traders have also approached us in order to install POS devices, but the bank can only meet half of the demand," said a source in the Union Bank of India branch in West Nagpur. "With increase in demand, there has also been a rise in snags. We have registered four complaints in three days related to poor network connectivity," the source said.

"If the government is promoting cashless economy, it should bring out improvements in the internet infrastructure," the banker added.

Software tuned

Soon after demonetisation, a facility to take cash by swiping cards at POS machines at petrol pumps and even bank branches was introduced. But only a single Rs 2,000 note could be received through the arrangement. Now, the software has been tuned to offer smaller denomination notes and a range from Rs100 to Rs 2,500 has been set up. 


The persons handling the machines have also been given notes of smaller denominations. Since the software was being updated, it also led to several hitches with failed transactions being reported, said a source in the banking industry.

-K Ramanathan ram@justransact.com

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