Saturday, 14 August 2010
On a Sunday morning in Mbarara town wanting to check out of the hotel room but before that I had to clear my hotel bill having spent a night after a wedding but coincidentally all the ATMs were not working at the same time. It was strange but true.
I hold an account with Barclays bank and since it is visa enabled, there was no need to carry cash on me after all I could withdraw anywhere with a visa sign. This was of course after starting with my own bank which was not working at the time.
For fear of crossing over to another day in the hotel, I was forced to make a quick decision. I went to Standard Chartered Bank which of course would charge me about 5,000 as a charge for the visa service now that I'm not their customer but that was okay with me now that any delay in the hotel would attract a night's charge and yet I was not about to spend an extra night in Mbarara.
Standard Chartered ATM was not working as well, crossed to Stanbic Bank, Crane Bank which were all not working at the time. I was too desperate that I even crossed to Equity Bank which for one reason or the other not advertised that their ATMs are visa enabled.
But because this is the only option that saved me from my situation, I had no choice but to write about them. I went for the ATM machine, put in my card, it took a bit of time before responding scaring me the more because it is one thing to have an ATM card and the machines are not working and another thing not to have an ATM because it has been swallowed up by an ATM machine, in this way even if the service resumed, you would not be able to withdraw money for lack of an ATM card.
The machine later asked me to put my details of how much I wanted and there I saw the money. I also noticed something unique about its dispensing mechanism, it gives you all denominations so if you are the type who wanted loose notes, there will be no need of looking for change money.