Why dispense only $50 notes?

When he wanted to withdraw less than $50 from an ATM, he couldn't.

Why? Because the POSB ATM had been reconfigured to dispense only $50 notes.

Furniture consultant Shah Pakri, 40, was so upset with the change that he wrote a letter to The Straits Times forum last month about the issue.

It turns out that particular ATM was among some 275 which were reconfigured to dispense only $50 notes since last October.

Mr Pakri, who lives in Geylang Serai, told The New Paper that since the change, he can no longer withdraw money from two POSB ATMs located in Joo Chiat Complex.

He now has to travel to another ATM located at Eunos Road 5, which is about 300m away. This ATM dispenses $10 and $50 notes.

Mr Pakri said: "I usually withdraw only $20. I don't want to withdraw more as I'll be tempted to spend it."

He hoped DBS would go back to allowing ATMs to dispense notes in both denominations.

POSB was incorporated into DBS Bank in 1998.

Mr Pakri said: "It's ironic that POSB, which is supposed to be the people's bank, is inconveniencing low-income earners."

He is not alone.

Another customer, housewife Florence Siah, 65, said she has never used the "$50-only" machines as she needs small change for buying groceries.

"I always use the old ATMs. But I now have to queue longer for them."

A DBS spokesman confirmed the move and said it was made to increase the effectiveness and convenience for the majority of its customers.

The spokesman explained that the ATMs were reconfigured because of the withdrawal patterns of its customers.

It was observed that more customers were withdrawing larger amounts at ATMs in certain areas, like in the Central Business District (CBD), she said.

The spokesman said: "We've noticed that with this change, these machines have experience less 'out of cash' scenarios, thus reducing customers' inconveniences."

TNP understands that each ATM has a fixed number of cartridges which can hold dollar notes within the machine. This means that ATMs which do not dispense $10 notes can hold more $50 notes, and are less likely to run out of them.

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