On Day One of cash withdrawal facility at outlets of Big Bazaar (a supermarket chain), many cash seekers were seen standing in queues and preferred the option over banks, ATMs and post offices.
On Tuesday, Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani had tweeted about providing the facility to the Big Bazaar customers and said that people could use their debit cards to withdraw ₹2,000 from Thursday. He had said that all a customer needed to do was swipe his/her card at the cash counter and take home up to ₹2,000. An official announcement was made on Wednesday and the facility started on Thursday.
Cumulatively, the four outlets of Big Bazaar — at Ambience Mall near Sirhaul toll, Sahara Mall on MG Road, Omaxe Mall and Spazedge Mall on Sohna Road — dispensed over ₹15 lakh to over 700 people on Thursday, Future Group officials said.
Each outlet had procured five Point of Sale (POS) machines from State Bank of India. Dedicated cash counters, for dispensing money, were set up at each outlet. A user had to swipe his or her Debit/ATM card and enter their PIN on the POS machine and withdraw up to Rs 2,000 on each transaction.
At the Ambience Mall outlet, between 10.30am and 5.30pm, the outlet had dispensed over ₹4 lakh. Officials there claimed that most transactions had been completed by noon and approximately 200 people availed of the facility.
At the Sahara Mall outlet, till 12.30pm, transactions of over ₹1 lakh were made. Similarly, the outlet at Omaxe Mall also dispensed the same amount by 2pm.
“Staff members at the outlets in Gurgaon reported that the rush was seen from opening (10.30am) till noon and in the evening hours. Since collections are ongoing, exact earnings on opening day can be ascertained only by Friday, ” a Future Group Official in the sales division said.
For many customers, the POS facility provided relief from standing in queues at ATMs and banks.
“During the first week after the demonetisation announcement, I stood in queues outside banks and ATMs to get cash for daily needs. After standing in line for nearly two hours, I switched to digital wallet and online payment methods. However, the same could not be used for all payments. Procuring cash from POS machines has significantly reduced the waiting time for cash,” Col (retd) GS Bhalla, a resident of Palam Vihar, said.
Some customers at Big Bazaar were also unaware of the development. But once they knew of the facility, they made arrangements to maximise the opportunity.
“I had come to the store for buying my monthly groceries. Once I learnt about the POS facility, I asked my family members to immediately come here with debits cards and we were able to get ₹12,000 cash.” Sudanshu Goel, a resident of sector 47, said.