Customer comes to the fore front of all banks today. With more and more services introduced to enhance customer experience in everyday banking and with frequent technological upgrades, the running costs of banks are hiking at a rocket pace. And it is quite natural for banks to pass a share of these to their customer base. Just like the new charges levied on ATM users at metro cities for more than a stipulated ATM visits a month, there are many miscellaneous charges associated with every day banking transactions like request for cheque books, for non maintenance of quarterly balance and many more.
Some of these are unavoidable but some can be avoided with a little care and planning. Even though negligible, it is good to have a watchful eye over the miscellaneous banking charges and the new ones being added to keep a tab on your unwanted and avoidable expenses. Let us have a sneak-peak into the various banking related charges that come across us in our everyday life.
Minimum Balance Charges: Almost very bank including private banks and public sector banks seek a minimum balance in both savings and current accounts. While majority of public sector banks have very small minimum balance requirement, private banks seek an average minimum quarterly or average minimum monthly balance ranging from Rs.2500 to Rs.10000 or more which must be maintained by the account holder. In case the minimum quarterly balance or minimum average monthly balance is not maintained, banks charge users a fine ranging from Rs. 250 – 750 per quarter depending on the bank and the balance to be maintained.
ATM Charges: The introduction of ATMS changed the face of Indian banking system. From overcrowded bank tellers, people had the advantage of withdrawing cash from ATM machines located in convenient locations across the country. If you are one of those frequenting the ATM machine for every small withdrawal, make sure to check with your bank the number of free ATM transactions allowed for your account. Banks offer a fixed number of free monthly ATM transaction and other transactions including from the ATM of the same bank or other bank is charged. Recently the Reserve bank of India has issued guidelines asking banks in six metropolitan cities to offer a maximum of five free transactions for ATM usage including withdrawals, account balance or mini statement transactions.
NEFT/RTGS Charges: All banks seek a minimum service charge for allowing online money transfer facilities like NTFS and RTGS transactions. While transferring funds online is quick and easy using either of the two services, banks charge a service fee ranging from Rs. 5 to Rs. 25 for every online funds transfer transaction. The exact amount or charge depends on the quantum of money to be transferred from the account. While charges for NEFT and RTGS transactions are nominal, they can become substantially higher if the user uses online transfer facility frequently each month.
Debit Card Fee/Charges: Banks offer debit cards for almost all their account holders. Debit cards have a number of utility features including using the card for shopping in various stores online websites to using the debit card as an ATM card for cash withdrawals and getting mini statements. Debit cards are however charged an annual fee which can range anywhere from Rs. 100 to Rs. 250 depending on the type of the card and the bank. Service tax is also applicable over and above the annual fee for the debit card.
Cheque Book and Cheque Bouncing Charges: A large number of banks are today charging customers for issuing a new cheque book. Any request for a new cheque book carries a charge of Rs. 100 depending on the bank concerned. Considering that there are 50 leaves in one cheque book on an average, each cheque leaf costs the customer Rs. 2 per head. It is a good idea to check with your bank account for any charges for issuing of cheque books. In case the banks are charging for the same it is a good idea to upgrade to a higher account category which comes with unlimited cheque book facility. Cheque bouncing due to insufficient funds or other reasons carries a penalty from Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 depending on the bank. Cheque return charges are quite consistent with all banks.
SMS Alerts and Mobile Banking Charges: If you have opted to receive SMS alerts for every banking transaction, make sure to check with your bank the charges for the service. Almost all banks today have started charging customers for mobile banking as well as for SMS alerts. Even popular public sector banks including SBI and PNB are charging Rs. 15 per quarter for SMS alert services. The only saving grace for customers is the fact that as of now all alerts delivered through emails continues to be free while those sent on a phone as a text alert are charged.
Other Service Charges: A number of private banks are charging customers visit the bank branch beyond a number of specified limits. The banks are offering a maximum cap on the number of cash deposits and withdrawals. In case the customer exceeds the maximum limit the bank levies extra charges. Other services for which charges are levied are photo attestation, signature verification, request for bank statement etc