People fear empty ATMs during Eid, post-holidays

Updated 18 August 2013

People fear empty ATMs during Eid, post-holidays

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) has added 89 new ATMs around the Kingdom this year. Still, people complain the number of ATMs cannot cover the cash withdrawals during Eid and the period immediately following the holidays.
Last year many people had cash flow problems during Eid. Some ATMs were empty, which made people upset.
This year in Ramadan, total cash withdrawals from ATMs around the Kingdom amounted to an estimated SR32 billion. To avoid complications, some people had withdrawn money for their Eid and post-Eid expenses beforehand.
Talat Hafiz, secretary-general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi Banks, said that SAMA is ready to fund the ATMs to meet the rush demand.
“Banks’ plan during Eid is to fund the ATMs with money once the fund in each ATM decreased to 60 percent,” Hafiz said. “This is in Eid where it is considered an emergency case as the cash withdrawal increases.”
“Normally the banks top up their ATMs with money when the ATMs cash flow decreased to 40 percent. However, due to the hike increase in cash withdrawal in Ramadan by 23 percent compared to last Ramadan, many banks are expecting an increase in cash withdrawal during Eid as well.”
Hind Asiri, a Saudi teacher and mother of two children, said she failed to withdraw cash during Eid last year.
“I visited four ATMs near my house, but I failed to get money. So, I went to a far area to get money, but it was too crowed and I wasted the time walking around,” she said.
“This year I got the money before Eid and kept it at home, so I wouldn’t have the same problem,” she said.
Noura Hani, a Saudi banker, said she withdrew cash, but she received a torn SR500 bill.
“Last year I had no problem, but this year I did. I visited two ATMs in malls, but none of them were working during the last 10 days of Ramadan. So, I decided to postpone my withdrawal until Eid. When I visited the nearest ATMs, I found them empty. Again, I went to an entertainment resort where there is only one ATM. When I tried it, I got a torn SR500 bill. When I tried again to get another SR500, the machine stopped suddenly,” she said.
Some people blame the banks to give extra money in ATMs around main cities, and ignore the ATMs in small villages.
Thamer Ali, who works in Jeddah but is originally from Al-Kharj, said he always took money while he was in Jeddah since in Al-Kharj most ATMs are empty in peak times like Eid, Ramadan, Haj, and summer vacation.


Lead roles for Saudi stars as Okaz Nights concerts begin

Photo supplied
Updated 5 min 9 sec ago

Lead roles for Saudi stars as Okaz Nights concerts begin

  • Abadi Al-Johar and Dalia Mubarak shine in wonderful musical evening

TAIF: The Okaz Nights series of concerts began with a wonderful evening featuring Saudi stars Abadi Al-Johar and Dalia Mubarak at the Okaz Main Theater, which has been given a new look.

The concerts are part of Taif Season, which is presenting events throughout August. The concert with Al-Johar and Mubarak, which sold out quickly, was well received by the audience of more than 2,500.

The evening began at 9.30 p.m. with a collection of new and old songs from Mubarak, supported by 27 musicians. Al-Johar then greeted her with beautiful and famous songs.

Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jasmi also performed at the theater, which will host Syrian musical artist Asala Nasri on Aug. 28 and Ahlam Al-Shamsi on Aug. 30.