Opinions differ amongst Rwandans about the use of ATM cards.
An ATM card is issued by a bank, credit union or building society that can be used for deposits, withdrawals, account information, and other types of transactions.
The cards are personal and require authentication through a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
People use Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards to perform duties such as account balance inquiries, electronic bill payments and withdrawals.
Vincent Kaitare, 36 years, an entrepreneur dealing in hardware products, says the card helps in saving time since it does not require that he lines up inside the bank to make transactions.
“Cards are quick and easy to use but they end up bringing financial ruin to many people who do not use their money properly,” he adds
He stresses that most people use the cards to withdraw money at any time and so end up spending all their money unwisely.
Jean Bosco Nsengimana, a student at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology remarks about the plastic money as the card is referred to: “It saves time because we no longer have to take off school or work to go to the bank. And the service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is like having your personal banker on call 24/7”.
He added that, if the card has a problem it becomes difficult to withdraw money even if some body urgently needs the cash.
Yvette Umutoni the Manager at Bank of Kigali, Kacyiru Branch, states that most of their clients use the ATM machine during the weekends and at night when the bank is not open.
“However most of the people have the cards but they prefer lining up at the teller counters in the bank when withdrawing their money due to inadequate knowledge on how to use ATMs,” Umutoni says.
Stella Uwimpuhwe, 29 years, a teacher at King David Academy fears that a thief could be lurking almost everywhere, mostly outside banks. She finds it very risky to withdraw money using the card.
“The thieves are looking at you and that’s how one can lose money and their life to robbers,” Uwimpuhwe says.
Wallet-sized ATM card make financial transactions a breeze by eliminating writing of checks or the dangers of carrying large sums of cash.
The cards benefit both consumers and the banking institutions. But they can also cripple people’s savings.