HIGH costs of investments have been cited as among the reasons that frustrate banks and other financial institutions to expand their services across the country. This was said in Dar es Salaam on Monday by the Managing Director of Barclays Bank Tanzania, Mr Kihara Maina, at a press briefing when announcing the bank's move to waive automatic teller machine (ATM) usage fees for its customers effective from next month. "It's a fact that penetration of banking services across the country is still minimal due to high investment costs," he said. In view if this, he said, only a few banks and financial institutions have invested in rural areas due to high costs and lack of improved infrastructure. It is estimated that less than 10 per cent of Tanzanians access banking services. "Putting zero charges on ATMs will make life easier to our customers," said Mr Kihara, adding that, "We continue to explore ways of making banking services more accessible, affordable and convenient, an overall strategy to make our customer's banking experience easier and attractive." He said the bank would continue to invest in advanced technology to meet customers' needs and expectation as well as offering best services and products. Mr Maina said that the move is part of the bank's strategy to render affordable, reduce queues and enhance customer banking experience by offering competitive services. The bank currently charges 600/- per transaction while other banks are reported to be charging between 400/- and 750/- per ATM transaction. He said the removal of ATM charges would not only bring significant difference in the banking sector, but also benefits both service providers and customers. He said the bank's focus is to attract more customers and stay ahead of competitions. The Consumer Banking Director for East and West Africa, Mr Zahid Mustafa said that with 52 ATMs across the country, the bank is currently offering one million withdrawals through ATMs on daily basis. "We continue to improve many other packages in order to make our customer trouble free of hassle," he said.