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New Rs 200 notes: It may take ATMs three months to dispense Rs 200

Will all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated?

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Wait for 3 more months as ATM recalibration is not yet done
Wait for 3 more months as ATM recalibration is not yet done. Wikimeida
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  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up
  • The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent
  • The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon
New Delhi, September 4, 2017: While the RBI launched the new Rs 200 notes a week ago, it may take up to three months for ATMs to start dispensing the new denomination currency “new Rs 200 note” as it will involve a huge exercise of recalibration.

What are ATM companies saying about when will the new Rs 200 notes come into the market?

Some banks have even asked the ATM companies to begin testing the new Rs 200 notes for recalibration of the machines, though they have not got supplies of the new Rs 200 notes/ currency. Only last year, the banks were involved in the recalibration of ATM machines after the demonetization of high-value currency notes in November.
ATM manufacturing companies said that they have not received any directive from the RBI regarding the recalibration of ATMs for the new Rs 200 note. They disclosed that some banks have at an informal level have asked them to start testing of the new note since it is of a different size.

 

When will the supply of the new Rs 200 notes see an increase?

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up but has not given any time-frame by which it will be available in adequate numbers.

 It is yet to be seen whether all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated for dispensing the new Rs 200 notes.

 

 avi B Goyal, Chairman, and Managing Director, AGS Transact Technologies Limited, which claims to have an installed base of 60,000 ATMs, told IANS, “The process of recalibration will begin once we receive the directive from the RBI. The size of the new Rs 200 notes are different from the existing ones and so, once we receive the new Rs 200 notes, we will have to understand its dimensions and accordingly reconfigure the ATM cassettes. Next, we will have to check if the supply of new Rs 200 notes is good enough to run the cassettes at full capacity.”

 “The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent. In fact, the ATMs will continue to be fully operational during recalibration and will continue to supply Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denominations,” he said.

 

Among the other companies operating in the sector are NCR Corporation, which has over 1,08,000 machines, and BTI Payments, which has 4,500 cash dispensers. NCR Corporation said that while some banks have reached out to them to start testing of the new Rs 200 notes, they were yet to receive the supply to begin the process.

 “Banks have started getting in touch with us for testing the same “new Rs 200 notes”. They will let us know which machines they wish to configure for new rs 200 notes, which will require physical visits to ATMs. However, the new Rs 200 notes are still to be provided to us by the respective banks so that the testing can begin,” Anand Garollu, General Manager (Services), NCR Corporation said.

K. Srinivas, Managing Director, and CEO of BTI Payments, a RBI-licensed firm that operates cash dispensers not owned and managed by banks, said, “Recalibration will begin as and when we receive adequate quantity of new Rs 200 notes. We are looking to roll this out as quickly as possible.”

 He said that the industry was expecting new Rs 200 notes to be available over a period of time across various geographies.

 “The recalibration can be done progressively as and when the new denomination note starts to become available. Unlike the last time around (during demonetization), when we had to recalibrate all machines in one go,” Srinivas added.

 The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon. However, emails to RBI in this regard did not elicit any reply, they said.

 “The production of these “new Rs 200 notes” is being ramped up by the currency printing presses and over time, as more notes are printed, it will be distributed across the country through the banking channels and will be available for the public in adequate quantity,” the RBI had said in a statement.

 Currently, new Rs 200 notes are available only through select RBI offices and some banks.

While State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank are reported to have received the new Rs 200 notes, Eknath Baliga, Manager, KYC-Antimoney Laundering Cell, Corporation Bank, Mangalore, told IANS that none of its branches across the country had received the new Rs 200 notes so far.

The new Rs 200 notes are currently being printed only by RBI presses. Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) sources told IANS that the company has not received any indent so far for the printing of new Rs 200 notes. India’s two currency presses are owned by RBI and two by SPMCIL, which is a government-owned company.

 How ATM recalibration happens:

Usually, an ATM holds four cassettes — three of which can continue to be used for Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 2,000, and the fourth cassette can be used for the new Rs 200 notes. On an average, each cassette has a capacity to hold 2,000-2,500 notes depending upon the quality of cash issued by banks. However, there are many ATMs that only have either two or three cassettes.

The number of slots in the ATM can be configured as per the bank’s preference. The banks decide which denomination needs to be configured in a machine on the basis of the customer profile in the area where the ATM is located and the number of transactions on that machine.

The banks need to make requisite changes at their ATM switch before the rollout of the physical recalibration at the ATMs in the field.

The recalibration of a new denomination takes 30-45 minutes per ATM. The process of recalibration is not very difficult but is time-consuming given an engineer has to visit every ATM and configure it to dispense the requisite denomination.

The introduction of the Rs 200 note has been welcomed as it would ease the currency circulation in the market as people prefer lower denomination cash withdrawals from ATMs. Rs 200 would also be more convenient for rural consumers. (IANS)

 

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North Korea Allegedly Stole Millions Of Dollar From Online Bank Heist

The Silicon Valley-based company says it is aware of continuing, suspected APT38 operations against other banks.

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A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture. VOA

North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests have stopped, but its hacking operations to gather intelligence and raise funds for the sanction-strapped government in Pyongyang may be gathering steam.

U.S. security firm FireEye raised the alarm Wednesday over a North Korean group that it says has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars by infiltrating the computer systems of banks around the world since 2014 through highly sophisticated and destructive attacks that have spanned at least 11 countries. It says the group is still operating and poses “an active global threat.”

It is part of a wider pattern of malicious state-backed cyber activity that has led the Trump administration to identify North Korea — along with Russia, Iran and China — as one of the main online threats facing the United States. Last month, the Justice Department charged a North Korean hacker said to have conspired in devastating cyberattacks, including an $81 million heist of Bangladesh’s central bank and the WannaCry virus that crippled parts of Britain’s National Health Service.

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US Dollar Image, pixabay

DHS offers warning

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned of the use of malware by Hidden Cobra, the U.S. government’s byword for North Korea hackers, in fraudulent ATM cash withdrawals from banks in Asia and Africa. It said that Hidden Cobra was behind the theft of tens of millions of dollars from teller machines in the past two years. In one incident this year, cash had been simultaneously withdrawn from ATMs in 23 different countries, it said.

North Korea, which prohibits access to the world wide web for virtually all of its people, has previously denied involvement in cyberattacks, and attribution for such attacks is rarely made with absolute certainty. It is typically based on technical indicators such as the Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses that identify computers and characteristics of the coding used in malware, which is the software a hacker may use to damage or disable computers.

But other cybersecurity experts tell The Associated Press that they also see continued signs that North Korea’s authoritarian government, which has a long track record of criminality to raise cash, is conducting malign activity online. That activity includes targeting of financial institutions and crypto-currency-related organizations, as well as spying on its adversaries, despite the easing of tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

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People watch a news broadcast announcing the Singapore summit meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, on a giant television screen outside the central railway station in Pyongyang,VOA

“The reality is they are starved for cash and are continuing to try and generate revenue, at least until sanctions are diminished,” said Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at CrowdStrike. “At the same time, they won’t abate in intelligence collection operations, as they continue to negotiate and test the international community’s resolve and test what the boundaries are.”

North Korea attacks continue

CrowdStrike says it has detected continuing North Korean cyber intrusions in the past two months, including the use of a known malware against a potentially broad set of targets in South Korea, and a new variant of malware against users of mobile devices that use a Linux-based operating system.

This activity has been taking place against the backdrop of a dramatic diplomatic shift as Kim Jong Un has opened up to the world. He has held summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and with President Donald Trump, who hopes to persuade Kim to relinquish the nuclear weapons that pose a potential threat to the U.S. homeland. Tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula have dropped and fears of war with the U.S. have ebbed. Trump this weekend will dispatch his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, to Pyongyang for the fourth time this year to make progress on denuclearization.

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Ji Seong-ho, North Korean refugee and president of Now Action and Unity for Human Rights. VOA

But North Korea has yet to take concrete steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, so there’s been no let-up in sanctions that have been imposed to deprive it of fuel and revenue for its weapons programs, and to block it from bulk cash transfers and accessing to the international banking system.

FireEye says APT38, the name it gives to the hacking group dedicated to bank theft, has emerged and stepped up its operations since February 2014 as the economic vise on North Korea has tightened in response to its nuclear and missile tests. Initial operations targeted financial institutions in Southeast Asia, where North Korea had experience in money laundering, but then expanded into other regions such as Latin America and Africa, and then extended to Europe and North America.

In all, FireEye says APT38 has attempted to steal $1.1 billion, and based on the data it can confirm, has gotten away with hundreds of millions in dollars. It has used malware to insert fraudulent transactions in the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or SWIFT system that is used to transfer money between banks. Its biggest heist to date was $81 million stolen from the central bank of Bangladesh in February 2016. The funds were wired to bank accounts established with fake identities in the Philippines. After the funds were withdrawn they were suspected to have been laundered in casinos.

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North Korea, which prohibits access to the world wide web for virtually all of its people, has previously denied involvement in cyberattacks

Cyber attacks an alternative

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank, said in a report Wednesday that North Korea’s cyber capabilities provide an alternative means for challenging its adversaries. While Kim’s hereditary regime appears to prioritize currency generation, attacks using the SWIFT system raise concerns that North Korean hackers “may become more proficient at manipulating the data and systems that undergird the global financial system,” it says.

Sandra Joyce, FireEye’s head of global intelligence, said that while APT38 is a criminal operation, it leverages the skills and technology of a state-backed espionage campaign, allowing it to infiltrate multiple banks at once and figure how to extract funds. On average, it dwells in a bank’s computer network for 155 days to learn about its systems before it tries to steal anything. And when it finally pounces, it uses aggressive malware to wreak havoc and cover its tracks.

“We see this as a consistent effort, before, during and after any diplomatic efforts by the United States and the international community,” said Joyce, describing North Korea as being “undeterred” and urging the U.S. government to provide more specific threat information to financial institutions about APT38’s modus operandi. APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat.

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A security specialist works at a computer station with a cyberthreat map displayed on a wall in front of him in the Cyber Security Operations Center at AEP headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, May 20, 2015. VOA

Large Chile bank hacked

The Silicon Valley-based company says it is aware of continuing, suspected APT38 operations against other banks. The most recent attack it is publicly attributing to APT38 was against of Chile’s biggest commercial banks, Banco de Chile, in May this year. The bank has said a hacking operation robbed it of $10 million.

Also Read: The European Union Warns Facebook Over Consumer’s Data Usage

FireEye, which is staffed with a roster of former military and law-enforcement cyberexperts, conducted malware analysis for a criminal indictment by the Justice Department last month against Park Jin Hyok, the first time a hacker said to be from North Korea has faced U.S. criminal charges. He’s accused of conspiring in a number of devastating cyberattacks: the Bangladesh heist and other attempts to steal more than $1 billion from financial institutions around the world; the 2014 breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment; and the WannaCry ransomware virus that in 2017 infected computers in 150 countries. (VOA)