The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday announced a penalty for banks and non-banking entities if the automated teller machines, or ATMs, operated by them run out of cash for more than 10 hours a month.

From October 1, banks will be handed out a flat Rs 10,000 penalty per ATM if their machines run out of cash beyond the stipulated time limit, the RBI said. In case of non-banking entities, or “white label ATM operators” too, the banks meeting their cash requirements will have to pay the penalty. The banks may later recover the amount from the entities.

“It was observed that ATM operations affected by cash-outs lead to non-availability of cash and cause avoidable inconvenience to the members of the public,” the central bank said in a letter to the banks. Under the new system, banks will have to submit a statement on downtime of ATMs on account of cash running out to the RBI within the first five days of every month.

Earlier in June, the central bank announced that banks will be able to raise charges on using ATM machines to Rs 21 per transaction from January 1, 2022. It was Rs 20 per transaction earlier.

Customers are still allowed five free transactions, including financial and non-financial, on a monthly basis from their own bank ATMs. They are also eligible for three free transactions from other bank ATMs in metro cities and five in non-metro centres.