Residents of Osun have expressed dissatisfaction over the exorbitant amount charged by point-of-sale (POS) operators as a commission for cash withdrawals by customers.
In an interview with a cross-section of residents in Osogbo and Ile-Ife, customers complained that the failure of commercial banks to provide them with the new Naira notes has turned POS operators into exploiters and opportunists.
They, however, called for urgent action from concerned authorities to checkmate the excessive charges by the POS operators before the situation gets out of hand.
Dele Oyewumi, a resident of Osogbo, stated that he was made to pay N750 on a cash withdrawal of N5,000 at Odi-Olowo axis, Olaiya, on Friday when he was returning home in the night. I was returning home and I decided to go to the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in Fakunle Area to withdraw some money because I was out of cash, but there was a long queue at the ATM.
“I then decided to approach a POS operator to withdraw N5,000 only for him to charge me N150 on a thousand Naira. The whole situation is becoming appalling and frustrating. POS operators are becoming exploitative and it is really sad,” he said.
Mr. Ponle Adebayo, a civil servant, also complained that the POS charges were becoming too much for anyone to bear, looking at the harsh economic situation of the country. Adebayo said the operators needed to reconsider their actions by being considerate of customers.
He said the operators must know that nothing lasts forever and the need for them to build customer relations should be paramount to them.
Mrs. Agnes Olatunbosun, a business owner in Osogbo, appealed to the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to come up with drastic solutions in addressing the scarcity of the Naira notes.
Olatunbosun said the way and manner some POS operators behave because of the Naira scarcity is terrible and very unfriendly.
She said some even deny receiving credit alerts when customers make bank transfers for cash withdrawals to them, often leading to confusion and lack of trust from their customers. I want to say the manner in which these operators charge money for every transaction is worrisome and annoying. Some even cheat you by receiving double credit alerts for a single transaction because some of them will deny, thereby creating a problem for the customer to prove and resolve the transfer issue with their banks.”
Reacting, some POS operators explained that the high charges are due to the fact that they could not access the new notes too and in some cases, they too had to buy the Naira notes so they can stay in business. Mr. Chris Omorodion, a POS operator at Oke Fia Roundabout, Osogbo, said most operators find it difficult to access cash from banks, thereby going beyond limits to meet the yearnings of their customers.
Omorodion said some operators go to the extent of buying cash from anonymous sources, business owners, and others, which in turn leads to them increasing the charges they collect from customers. The constraints of getting cash have led to many operators increasing their charges in order to make profits and not suffer any losses. The kind of stress and pain most operators go through before getting cash for their POS operation is responsible for the extra charges.
“For me, for every N1,000, I charge N100 for every N10,000, just to ensure I do not lose at the end of the day,” Omorodion said. The Director, of Dollar Global Commercial Point of Sale (POS), Ile-Ife, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Alokan, attributed the high charges collected by POS operators to the difficulties faced to access new naira notes from banks. Alokan said that she has been going to banks for the past three days without getting any cash to do her business, adding that she even had to close her shop because she could not get Naira notes for her business transactions.
“If you know what we are passing through to get money from banks to do this business, our customers will not complain nor blame us for the increased charges. Government and CBN need to be blamed for this hardship imposed on the citizens. Meanwhile, who asked them to change money, is that the solution to Nigeria’s problems?
“I am not forcing anybody, but anyone that comes to me will surely pay N200 for N1,000 withdrawn, N1,000 for N5,000, and N2,000 for N10,000 respectively, for it is not easy at all,” she stated. Also, the Manager, God is Our Strength POS Ile-Ife, Aderonke Ayantunji, said that she had to close her business since accessing the new Naira notes became very difficult.
Ayantunji stated that she cannot go and queue for hours in the bank without collecting enough amount of money that would be sufficient for her. My transport fees from my office to the bank would cost me nothing less than N1,000 and at the end of the day, I will only be able to collect N20,000 or less from the ATM which would not be of any gain to me. So what do I do with N20,000? The sharp increase in our service charges is due to the difficulty in accessing the new Naira notes from the commercial banks,