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Banks ordered to upgrade ATMs

2013-09-03 10:05 Global Times Web Editor: Sun Tian

China's central bank has ordered banks in Shanghai to upgrade their automatic teller machines (ATM) by the end of this year to record the serial numbers of every bill they dispense, local media reported on Monday.

The upgraded machines give ATM users who receive counterfeit bills a way to prove that the cash came from a specific bank's ATM, which makes it much easier for banks to exchange the bills.

Banks usually refuse customers who want to replace counterfeit bills because they can't verify where the bills came from.

In July, a resident surnamed Guo said he found 23 counterfeit bills when he withdrew 3,000 yuan ($489) from an ATM in Minhang district.

The bank acknowledged surveillance video footage that showed Guo withdrawing money from one of its ATMs, but it refused to exchange the counterfeit bills because Guo couldn't prove they were the same ones he got from its ATM.

In the past, banks have advised customers who spot counterfeit bills when they make an ATM withdrawal to stay put and contact the bank's service hotline, according to a Bank of Communications' customer service representative. The hotline's staff typically asks customers to read the suspected bill's serial number and then hold it up to the ATM's security camera for five seconds for verification.

However, this method requires customers to spot a counterfeit bill among the cash they have just withdrawn.

The upgraded ATMs allow customers to print out a receipt that lists the serial numbers of every bill they've received in a given transaction, according to a report in the Shanghai Evening Post.

If any one of the bills turns out to be counterfeit, the customer has one month to return it to the bank for a replacement. Still, some details remain unclear.

"The bank is still working on the details of the replacement plan for counterfeit bills, so it is unclear how much money a customer can exchange," the customer service representative told the Global Times.

So far, only a handful of bank branches have upgraded their ATMs. Several branches of China Construction Bank and Bank of Communications have added tags to their upgraded ATMs to inform customers about the serial number receipts.

The People's Bank of China has also required banks in Nanjing, Beijing and Guangzhou to upgrade their ATMs by the end of the year as part of an effort to crack down on counterfeit currency, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

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