Wednesday, 17 June 2015


“Asake, I dread my daughter coming home today, I am going to get all sort of mood from her and it wasn’t my fault. How do I explain it to her that the ATM did not dispense but my account was debited? You see, I bought her siblings books last week but most of hers were not in store, she ran home yesterday excited about her textbook being available and I promised to get it today. This morning after they left home, I decided to withdraw money from the ATM and it didn’t dispense, I walked into banking hall and I was told it would be reversed in 5 working days.  Before you ask neither my husband nor I have spare money to buy her books; we usually stick to a budget when it comes to their education.  This is school resumption time; everything is tight, no spare money in circulation as most of my friends also have kids in school” Bose said.

My name is Asake –Okin and I am cashless. Yes, I am one of those who are cashless to the core as I depend 98.5% on cash in card. I am your typical online airtime recharger, faithful POS user but sometimes holding cash is necessary as Danfo (public transport like Matatu in Kenya and Taxi in SA/Angola) do not accept card or mobile payment – our payment platform has not grown like the Mpesa so we still roll with cash.  Although I could relate with Bose’s story, I never had to wait longer than 24hours before any failed transaction was reversed until few weeks ago when I had to travel to Ibadan.

Since I was travelling with Danfo, I needed cash which I attempted to withdraw at another bank’s ATM. Just before dispensing, the ATM went out of service and my account had been debited. I waited awhile then called my bank’s customer care line and the personnel who picked my call stated a call will be logged with the other bank on Monday and I should expect a reversal in 5 working days.  I followed up on Monday to ensure the call was logged and in the following days, I kept calling. By the 10th working day, I was pissed, by the 16th day I stopped calling as I had spent over 500 naira following up.

It took 24days to reverse a 10,000 Naira failed transaction.  Although the money was not a show stopper for me, I couldn’t help but worry about people like Bose whose last penny or decision making funds is held in the bank for days while opportunity is being lost and relationship is being broken.

I am not an expert on card payment, hence I reached out to a friend for assistance

ASÀKÉ-̀KÍN: I have some questions with respect to ATM withdraw

Babs : Shoot.

ASÀKÉ-̀KÍN: How long does it take to reverse a failed withdrawal?

Babs :  Ideally, it should automatically reverse latest by 11:59pm. if not, please log a dispute claim with your bank. If used your bank's ATM  reversal should 24hours but if you used other bank's  ATM reversal should be 3-5 working days.

ASÀKÉ-̀KÍN: Mine took more 6 working days.

Babs : Maybe your bank did not log it on time. In reality, your customer service consultant either sends an email or log it on their bank's portal depending on how the bank operates. Dispute team reviews then logs it against the other bank on a dispute management portal." The bank has 5 days to revert.

ASÀKÉ-̀KÍN: What if I did not notice my failed transaction, can the bank reverse it?

Babs : Yes, only automatic same day reversals.

ASÀKÉ-̀KÍN:  What if I did not notice early?

Babs  : Even if you notice after 6months, complain at your bank and your funds could be returned but this not guaranteed because some card scheme set a limit on dispute. We expect you to check your balance periodically.

ASÀKÉ-̀KÍN:   Is it possible to reverse failed transaction funds deducted but not dispensed without logging?

Babs : Due to some technical difficulties, it is currently impossible to do so. ATM, POS and the likes make use of internet services, once a link is down, it can affect an ongoing transaction – each ATM has a report that shows whether or not a particular transaction dispensed funds – When a customer makes a complain, the bank checks the report, then reverses the funds.

ASÀKÉ-̀KÍN:   In January2013, banks were supposed to begin Cash reversals on ATM. “Most money deposit banks in the country have begun immediate cash reversals of uncompleted transactions on their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and customers are happy about it, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek has learnt. Uncompleted transactions on ATMs occur due to system malfunction; insufficient funds on the cash machine; and network failure among others” Nigeriacommunicationsweek

If the above is in place, why did I have to wait 24days in 2015 before I was refunded?

 Babs: Lol, we tell you to wait 24 hours for instant reversal because there is a possibility that your reversal is on queue waiting to be processed. Instead of 24 hours, just wait till 11:59pm & make your complaint first thing on the next day.

̀KÍN:   Mid last year, two of the banks I use started sending weekly summary via sms, being one of those people who dislikes sms alert ( privacy purposes plus N4 is a lot of money o !) I called one of the banks to stop but I was informed it was a CBN regulation, I must confess the weekly summary has assisted in detecting misalignment between my balance in mind and balance in bank.

Babs: I am not sure about the weekly or monthly summary were mandated by CBN. You can send a mail to CBN 

ASÀKÉ-Ọ̀KÍN:  Thanks Babs.

Babs : Anytime Asake 

Personally, I feel the most important thing is detecting you have been debited for a failed transaction. So till next time, pay attention to your bank statement – you might discover couple of missing Nairas

Edited by Opson Eniola Dada 


  1. Memuss & Associate18 June 2015 at 21:12

    Only God knows the number of victims who might have died as a result of the inability of this ATM error to dispense cash but debit the drawer's account with the amount a hospital requested before commencing any treatment on a patient. The recent removal of subsidy on ATM by CBN and re-introduction of #65 on a third withdrawal from another bank doesn't encourage a cashless policy but create an avenue for all these banks to perfect their fraud via monthly income statement sent to various account holders which surprises many after receiving SMS from this bank.
    This is a good and time bound write-up that could gear up the regulatory body to work towards the yearning of a silent common man on the street if it can be shared and reached the appropriate quarters.

  2. Great write up sis. its best we truly pay attention to our bank statement because it ain't funny if an ATM dispensing machine doesn't dispense your cash when it had debited your account. Thank you for making us Understand Better Billy

  3. To a very large extent,I can relate with this can only learn to take precautions in order not to be "caught in the 24 days web".
    I think this piece should get the widest reach.
    Thumbs Up Asake!!!

  4. Great write-up Asake. A good departure from writing mostly about relationship. I had a painful experience with Jumia of recently. I bought a phone and I returned it immediately because it came with a broken screen, it took Jumia 16 days to refund my big N24,500. There are issues with our payment platforms and quick reversals of funds will go a long way in restoring people's trust in online transaction. Once again, nice one.

    Otun Idris

  5. Nice one Asake. Thumbs Up!
    Educative but not in an 'in your face' way.