Should Banks Actively Help Reduce Cash?


Image Matteo Bal

From 1 July 2021, ABN Amro will charge costs for cash withdrawals if they exceed a certain amount per year. The limit is 10,000 euros for private individuals, 6,000 euros for students and 2,000 euros per year for minors. Anyone who withdraws more pays 5 euros at a time plus 0.5 percent of the amount withdrawn. For cash withdrawals abroad, even lower limits apply, respectively 4,000, 1,500 and 550 euros per year.

The bank keeps a close eye on customer behavior. Anyone who gets closer to their withdrawal limit will receive alerts via bank email or post. The message is that you will soon have to pay for withdrawing money. The feeling that the bank is following you will dislike some people. That can be a reason to prefer to use cash rather than a bank card or a bank transfer. Digital payments tell your bank what you are doing.

ABN Amro knowingly pursues its customers and says: ‘Banks play an important role in combating financial crime, such as fraud and money laundering. Digital payment is simple, safe and free of charge. ‘

Paying a few euros for cash withdrawals does not stop criminals, the bank also knows that. Discouraging cash makes its use more noticeable. It is easier to analyze patterns when only 5 percent of customers are actively using cash than when almost everyone is. For years, the services provided by banks have focused on the digitization of payment traffic. Banks have roughly halved the number of ATMs in the past six years. They do this, so to speak, to prevent exploding, but of course banks also save costs with it.

5 Euro.

Anyone who annually withdraws more money than is permitted at ABN Amro will pay 5 euros each time. For domestic cash withdrawals, a tax is added depending on the amount withdrawn.

Not every customer thinks digital payment is simple and safe. You have to be careful what you click on so that you do not become a victim of malware and viruses. Not to mention skimming, phishing, bank spoofing, WhatsApp or identity fraud.

Banks invest a lot in systems to monitor payment traffic, but mainly focus on combating crime. They do not warn the customer in case of suspicious transactions. They want to disrupt payment traffic as little as possible and not alarm criminals. Suppose that thousands of euros are debited from someone’s account three times in a row, while he normally never does. Or someone transfers money to a person who the bank suspects is a scammer. There is a good chance that the bank will do nothing.

The customer is now usually responsible for his payments. The bank now only takes action if it is known that there is a threat or if someone who has been the victim of bank fraud before. They could do much more: for example, in the event of an unusual transaction, ask the customer to log in again or confirm the payment in some other way. If digital payment does indeed become secure, the need for cash will automatically decrease.

Reinout van der Heijden is editor-in-chief of the Money Guide

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