SBI says husband can’t use wife’s debit card, court agrees
A casual act of letting your spouse or a close relative/friend withdraw money from an ATM using your debit card could prove costly. This is what a Benglauru woman on maternity leave recently learnt, albeit the hard way.
Banking rules categorically state that an ATM card is non-transferable and no other person apart from the account holder should use it.
On November 14, 2013, Marathahalli resident Vandana gave her debit card with PIN to her husband, Rajesh Kumar, to withdraw Rs 25,000 from a local SBI ATM. Rajesh went to the ATM and swiped the card; the machine delivered a slip showing the money was debited, but the amount was never released. SBI cited the ‘non-transferable’ rule and said the account holder was not the ATM user and turned down the money claims.
Vandana approached the Bangalore IVth Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on October 21, 2014, alleging that SBI had failed to refund the Rs 25,000 she’d lost in the ATM transaction. She said she had just given birth and could not move out of home, hence had to ask her husband to draw the money on her behalf.
When the ATM did not release the money, Rajesh called the SBI call centre only to be informed that it was an ATM fault and the money would be reverted to the account within 24 hours. With no sign of the money after a day, he approached the bank’s Helicopter Division branch at HAL with a formal complaint. But much to the shock of the couple, SBI allegedly closed the case in a few days, stating the transaction was correct and the customer got the money.
After running from pillar to post, the couple obtained CCTV footage that showed Kumar using the machine, but no cash being dispensed. They further lodged a complaint with the bank, following which an investigation committee ruled that Vandana, the cardholder, is not seen in the footage.
Meanwhile, Vandana, through an RTI, obtained a cash verification report of the ATM for November 16, 2013, which showed excess cash of Rs 25,000 in the machine.
Before approaching the consumer forum, the couple made a final plea to the bank ombudsman who simply ruled, ‘PIN shared, case closed.’
The case went on for over three-and-a-half years. Vandana said SBI should refund her money which was lost due to an ATM flaw, but the bank stood its ground, citing the rule that sharing ATM PIN with someone else was a violation. Further, the bank produced documents, including log records, showing the stated ATM transaction was successful and technically correct.
In its verdict on May 29, 2018, the court ruled that Vandana should have given a self-cheque or an authorisation letter to her husband for withdrawal of Rs 25,000, instead sharing the PIN and making him withdraw the money. The court dismissed the case.