No Lesson Learnt: RBI’s new Rs100 note is new headache for users, banks, ATMs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is shortly issuing new notes of Rs100 denomination in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series with lavender as base colour. The dimensions of the note at 66mm × 142mm are smaller than the one in circulation at present with a size of 73mm X 157mm. This, dimension change, however, would be a new headache for everyone from users to banks and automatic teller machine (ATM) service providers.

Rajiv Anand, Executive Director of Axis Bank told the Economic Times, “It looks like we may have to recalibrate the ATMs because the new Rs100 is neither the size of the old Rs100 note nor the Rs200 note for which we have recalibrated our ATMs.” The cost of the exercise could be Rs100 crore.
According to Radha Rama Dorai, Managing Director – ATM & Allied Services at FIS, this new Rs100 currency note would require re-calibration of the ATMs and more investment in terms of cost and efforts. “The dimensions of the new Rs100 currency note are different from that of the existing Rs100 currency note. To dispense the new notes from the ATM would require recalibration of the currency cassette in the ATMs. The ATM industry is just about finishing the calibrating the ATMS for Rs200 denomination. This recalibration would again require investment in terms of cost and efforts,” she says.
Earlier in January 2018, RBI had asked banks to re-calibrate their ATMs for the new Rs200 currency notes. However, many banks are yet to complete the job.
FIS manages a network of 12,000 plus ATMs, spread across the country particularly in the difficult terrains.
In a release, the Reserve Bank had said that all banknotes of Rs100 issued in earlier series would continue to be in operations as valid tender and printing and supply of the new Rs100 notes would increase gradually.
Since the old and new notes are likely to co-exist till such time RBI completely withdraws the old notes, it will be difficult to re-calibrate all the ATMs to soon support the new dimensions of the note. There is likelihood of an imbalance between the supply of the new notes and the withdrawal of the old notes, especially in the hinterland. If the supply of the new currency is unable to fill the gap created by the withdrawal of the old currency, dispensation of Rs100 currency notes through the ATMs will get affected till such time as the imbalance exists.
“It would be prudent to let banks and service providers decide when to calibrate the ATMs for the new currency note, depending on the ‘supply-withdrawal’ situation in each State over the next few quarters,” Ms Dorai says.
The new Rs100 note will have the motif of ‘Rani ki vav’ – a stepwell located on the banks of Saraswati river in Gujarat’s Patan and a UNESCO heritage site.
The new series of Rs100 currency notes will be the fifth new banknote design to be issued by the Reserve Bank, after the government demonetised Rs500 and Rs1,000 banknotes in November 2016.
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