Money & Banking

BSBDA customers need not pay any charges for digital transactions: SBI

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on November 24, 2021

IIT-Bombay professor had alleged that there has been breach in RBI regulations when SBI imposed the charges

State Bank of India (SBI) on Tuesday emphasised that its Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBDA) customers do not pay any charges for digital transactions including transactions using Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and RuPay debit cards.

India’s largest bank stressed that it has made all digital transactions free to its customers with effect from January 1, 2020. Further, it has also waived fees on SMS services and on maintenance of minimum balance for all its Savings Bank account holders.

This assertion comes in the wake of Professor Ashish Das, Department of Mathematics, IIT-Bombay, alleging in his technical report that there had been a systematic breach in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations when the Bank imposed charges on BSBDA customers who transacted digitally.

Das claimed that unlike any other bank in India, SBI charged at the rate of ₹17.70 for every debit transaction beyond four a month since June 1, 2017.

The Professor averred that though SBI has stopped charging now, however, during April 2017 to September 2020, it collected over ₹254 crore towards at least 14 crore UPI/ RuPay transactions by charging ₹17.70 for each of these transactions done by the BSBDA customers under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

Referring to a Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) advisory on August 30, 2020, asking Banks to refund charges collected, if any, on or after January 1, 2020, on digital transactions and not to impose charges on such future transactions, SBI said it has refunded charges of ₹90.20 crores to the customers recovered during January 1 to September 14, 2020, period.

“Bank is only charging beyond four free cash withdrawals in the Business Correspondent (BC) channel, while there are no charges if digital channels are used. The objective is to promote digital transactions towards a ‘less cash’ economy,” SBI said in a statement.

SBI noted that it introduced charges beyond first four withdrawals in BSBD accounts in the BC channel with effect from June 15, 2016, in line with the RBI guidelines with prior intimation to the customers.

The Bank observed that a BSBD customer normally would not need to make more than four withdrawals in a month, and even if required, the same could be done from the branch without any cost.

SBI said it has the large base of over 16 crore BSBD accounts out of which Financial Inclusion (FI) customer base is around 14 crore.

Published on November 24, 2021

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