An ATM or Automatic Teller Machine is a computerized telecommunication device that links a customer of a given financial institution to his/her bank account with the help of a PIN or Personal Identification Number. ATMs are normally placed in public places and the idea is to carry out your transaction without the help of a teller or banking officer.
ATMs in Uganda can allow you make cash withdraws, issue mini statements, check on account balances and in some cases make deposits. Those that accept deposit transactions in most cases the deposit is not instant because a human being at some point has to verify the deposit and make a complete entry on your account. It normally takes up to 2 working days for that kind of deposit to reflect on your account.
ATM transactions are relatively cheap going for 200 to 300 Uganda shillings per transaction depending on the bank making them a preferred option to many bearing in mind that this kind of ''bank'' has no closing hours so there is no need of rushing to get there because anyway it is up and running 247.
Most Ugandan Banks have ATMs and those that do not have are in advanced stages of incorporating the same in their line of services. Initially banks that pioneered with ATM services were offering more of a cash dispensing service but now they have merged their services to the VISA family making these ATMs visa enabled and giving rise to the Debit Card which operates globally.This also means that you can access your account in Uganda while in the UK or any location in the world as long as that point of sale is Visa enabled.
Banks like Orient Bank have put up terminals or (Point-of-Sale) in most places in Uganda like petrol stations, restaurants & shops.Point of sale is a mobile and wireless way of processing credit cards or debit cards by swiping the customer's ATM card through the terminal or key-in payment information to deduct from your account money to the tune of the purchased item. Since withdrawing money from an ATM attracts a charge you could actually make your purchase from a (POS) and draw some cash as well at no charge at all. Crane Bank has issued a credit card facility that can actually necessitate you to transact online.
Like mentioned above ATMs are normally placed in public places and in event of it being placed in somewhat an insecure place there will be a guard or security personnel just to ensure that you are safe though some guards have gone over board and abused this. As you are busy withdrawing these guys are looking at you and when you are done they keep on asking very unrelated questions like ''has the machine given you a receipt? yet you chose not to get a receipt, You are lost ! as though they know you'' and so many others.. This is a mild problem compared to what problems you could be faced with if these ATM centers were not guarded at all. Most ATM booths have CCTV camera's installed in them just in case you are attacked or disputing an entry you do not understand or probably you have forgotten the CCTV can be helpful in retrieving that information.
In the nutshell ATMs are now part of everybody especially if you need one. Banks have taken advantage of public places like Garden City on Yusuf Lule road and Entebbe International Airport, Ntinda Shopping Complex plus others to install ATMs to make life very easy for you the customer.
Credit Card (Plastic Money)
ATMs appear to be a sorted item as far as Uganda is concerned. The next in line which has appeared in some wallets of a few Ugandans is the Credit Card. The difference between the credit card and the Debit card is that with a debit card you use your money to transact and with a credit card you can go way above your balance up to a given limit ofcourse as discussed by your bankers. The credit card is still a fairly new concept in Uganda and it is for that very reason you will not find it an accepted means of transacting in a supermarket or hotel near you. Some hotels accept credit cards but the issue of accepting credit cards is a question of at times overhauling your system ranging from training staff and installing the necessary systems which is an additional investment vis-a-vis mastering the crime elements and hacking associated with it. This is a strong reason for the credit card not being widely used in Uganda at the moment. Plastic money is the in thing for tomorrow so depending on what we do and how we do it this might be one area we will not avoid.
If you need a credit card you have to make an application to your bankers who then assess your banking history and get back to you with either an approval or a decline depending on your scores based on their algorithm.