From ATM withdrawals to a/c balances, banks are back to charging customers

Starting July 1, and depending upon the nature of the account, banks will limit ATM withdrawal limit to eight – five from own bank ATM and three from other ATMs in metro areas.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced a number of measures, especially for banking, to make life easy for the common citizens for three months.

These included complete waiver from maintaining minimum balance, and free of charge withdrawal from any bank automated teller machines. She also extended the date of filing income tax return to June 30, from March 31, similar extension on filing goods and services tax (GST) returns, no late fee or penalty on filing GST returns, increased the threshold for default by companies under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code to Rs 1 crore, from Rs 100,000 and promised to suspend certain clauses of the Insolvency Code.

The Finance Minister that time had also promised to bring an economic package, which later culminated in a Rs 20 trillion package, mainly comprising of guarantees and medium to long term measures. Parallelly, the Reserve Bank of India curtailed the market timings for bond and currency markets in view of movement restrictions during nationwide lockdown. The curtailed market hours continue even now.

That three-month window came to an end in June, and banks are back charging their customers even as the economic scenario has worsened. Banks, or the government, did not notify an extension of the ATM related rules, which meant that banks can now charge their customers like before.

Starting July 1, and depending upon the nature of the account, banks will limit ATM withdrawal limit to eight – five from own bank ATM and three from other ATMs in metro areas. In non-metro areas, customers can use five own bank ATMs and five from other banks. Beyond this, banks will charge Rs 5-20 plus GST for various financial and non-financial transactions, including for checking account balances.

However, for salary accounts, in most cases, there would be no charges for using own or other ATMs and the minimum balance can also be zero. For State Bank of India (SBI) and other nationalised banks, the minimum balance for a normal savings account could be Rs 25,000. In private banks, though, minimum balance could be as high as Rs 100,000.

Banks, however, themselves are enjoying some relaxations in rules from the regulator Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The banking regulator had already allowed banks to spread their excess provisioning for loans under moratorium over the next few quarters. On June 26, the central bank told banks they can continue to maintain their daily cash reserve ratio and statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) at 80 per cent, from 90 per cent norm pre-Covid, for another three months.


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