Truth about viral message showing ‘New bank charges for services from 20th January 2018’

One of the latest rumours being fanned on social media is the rumour that banks will soon levy charges on some basic services, which were available for free for a long time. The rumour was in the form of a message which claimed that all banks in India would be adopting the following charges, from 20.01.2018:

New Bank Charges to be applied:

The charges will be applicable from 20 Jan 2018. All charges reflected without GST. Auto Debit charges will be automatically debited with GST. We have to add GST along with charges which required to debit manually.

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(1) Cash withdrawal.
(a) Cash withdrawal upto maximum Rs. 50,000/- allowed only to account holder by self-cheque. Charges is Rs. 10/- per transaction (Auto Debit). 
(b) Cash withdrawal upto maximum Rs. 10,000/- allowed to 3rd party holder by cheque. Charges is Rs. 10/- per transaction (Auto Debit).
(2) Cash Deposit – Cash deposit of maximum Rs. 2 lakhs per day in CD / CC / OD and any amount in SB account. 
Charges – 
(a) For SB account upto Rs. 50,000/- per day free. For amount in excess of Rs. 50,000/-, Rs. 2.50/- per thousand or part thereof. Minimum Rs. 50/-.
(b) For CA / CC / OD / Other accounts upto Rs. 25,000/- per day free. For amount in excess of Rs. 25,000/-, Rs. 2.50/- per thousand or part thereof. Minimum Rs. 50/-.
(3) Passbook updation – Rs. 10/- per updation (Auto Debit).
(4) Balance Statement – Rs. 25/- per statement (Auto Debit).
(5) Cheque Book Request – Rs. 25/- per request (Auto Debit).
(6) Signature verification / Photo Attestation – Rs. 50/- per request.
(7) Issue of DD / PO / ECS – Rs. 25/- per request (Auto Debit).
(8) Cheque Deposit – Rs. 10/- per cheque plus speed clearing charges.
(9) Fund transfer (NEFT, RTGS, etc) – Rs. 25/- per request for amount upto Rs. 2.00 lakhs. Rs. 50/- for amount above Rs. 2.00 lakhs (Auto Debit).
(10) Interest Certificate – Rs. 50/- per certificate.
(11) Communication Address / Mobile Number updation – Rs. 25/- per request.
(12) KYC Updation – Rs. 25/- per request.
(13) Duplicate Passbook / FDR Receipt – Rs. 50/- per request.
(14) Request for Internet / Mobile Banking / Insta PIN / Star Token / Password Un-blocking – Rs. 25/- per request for Internet / Mobile Banking and Rs. 10/- per request for Insta PIN / Other requests.
(15) Request for Debit Cards – Rs. 25/- per request (Auto Debit).
(16) Stop Payment Instruction – NO Charges.
(17) Standing Instruction – NO Charges.

Is this viral message accurate? Today, the Secretary Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance, Government of India, tweeted a press release issued by the Indian Bank’s Association, which denied the existence of any such blanket proposal:

The press release clearly states that there is no such proposal for blanket removal of free services by public sector banks, and neither is such a move being contemplated. It also clarifies that there is no fresh RBI instruction or guideline towards the same. However, the release also says that banks can constantly revise their charges looking at their commercial operational costs.

While the release states that there is no blanket increase across all public sector banks, it appears that at least one bank has proposed almost exactly what is said in the viral message. Bank of India has uploaded a schedule of proposed service charges on its website, which it says will be applicable from 20.01.2018, which are identical to those in the message.

It appears that this viral rumour as germinated from the proposed charges of Bank of India, and as the case with all rumours, it has expanded beyond proportion, dragging in all public sector banks. For the time being, at least a few things are clear:

1. The message is based on the proposed service charges of only Bank of India

2. The Bank’s association has clarified that this is not a proposal which affects all public sector banks

3. Hikes in service charges cannot be ruled out in future, since every bank can decide for itself, just as Bank of India has decided.

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