Using your spouse’s debit card may prove costly, say banking rules

Using your spouse’s debit card may prove costly
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Court agrees to SBI’s submission that a man cannot use his wife’s debit card

The Hush Post: Letting your spouse or relatives and friends use your debit card using the ATM card could prove costly. A Bengaluru woman learnt this lesson a hard way.

According to the State Bank of India (SBI) the banking rules categorically state that an ATM card is non-transferable and no other person apart from the account holder should use it, a report said.

On November 14, 2013, Marathahalli resident Vandana gave her debit card with the PIN to her husband, Rajesh Kumar, to withdraw Rs 25,000 from an ATM of the SBI. Her husband went to the ATM and swiped the card; the machine delivered a slip showing the money was debited, but the amount was never released. SBI cited the ‘non-transferable’ rule and said the account holder was not the ATM user and turned down the money claims, it was reported.

Then Vandana approached the Bangalore IVth Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on October 21, 2014, alleging that SBI had failed to refund the Rs 25,000 she’d lost in the ATM transaction. She said she had just given birth and could not move out of the home, hence had to ask her husband to draw the money on her behalf, the report said.

When the ATM did not release the money, Rajesh called the State Bank of India (SBI) call centre only to be informed that it was an ATM fault and the money would be reverted to the account within 24 hours. With no sign of the money after a day, he approached the bank’s Helicopter Division branch at HAL with a formal complaint. But much to the shock of the couple, SBI allegedly closed the case in a few days, stating the transaction was correct and the customer got the money, it was reported.

After running from pillar to post, the couple obtained CCTV footage that showed Kumar using the machine, but no cash being dispensed. They further lodged a complaint with the bank, following which an investigation committee ruled that Vandana, the cardholder, is not seen in the footage.

Through a Right to Information (RTI) application Vandana obtained a cash verification report of the ATM for November 16, 2013, which showed excess cash of Rs 25,000 in the machine. The report submitted in the court was later countered by the SBI counsel who produced a report showing no excess cash. Before approaching the consumer forum, the couple made a final plea to the bank ombudsman who simply ruled, ‘PIN shared, case closed’, the report said.

The case continued for more than three-and-a-half years. Vandana said SBI should refund her money which was lost due to an ATM flaw, but the bank stood its ground, citing the rule that sharing ATM PIN with someone else was a violation. Further, the bank produced documents, including log records, showing the stated ATM transaction was successful and technically correct, it was reported.

In its verdict on May 29, 2018, the court ruled that Vandana should have given a self-cheque or an authorisation letter to her husband for withdrawal of Rs 25,000, instead of sharing the PIN and making him withdraw the money. With this, the court dismissed the case, the report said.

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