Money & Banking

Got the jab? Your bank deposit to get interest ‘booster’ dose

Surabhi/K Ram Kumar Mumbai | Updated on April 14, 2021

Insurers, too, looking to offer sops to customers getting vaccinated

As an incentive to encourage people to take Covid-19 vaccination, companies are looking to offer special benefits to customers who have taken the shot.

Public sector lender Central Bank of India, for instance, has launched the Immune India Deposit Scheme 1111 days with 25 basis points extra interest rate for those who are Covid vaccinated.

“To encourage vaccination under Covid-19, Central Bank of India launches Special Deposit Product ‘Immune India Deposit Scheme’ for 1111 days at an attractive extra interest rate of 25 basis points above the applicable card rate for citizens who got vaccinated,” the bank said in a statement, adding that it is a limited period offer.

Central Bank’s current card rate for deposits of three years and above is 5.1 per cent. So, a customer, who is vaccinated against Covid-19, places a deposit for 1111 days he/she will get 5.35 per cent interest.

Others are also looking at offering similar sops.

Anand Roy, Managing Director, Star Health and Allied Insurance, said: “We are looking at one or two products on these lines where people who have taken the vaccination get a differential discount compared to others.” The insurer will be approaching IRDAI soon for approval, he added. “For health insurance, it is a factor of risk also. Somebody who is vaccinated has a lesser chance of hospitalisation and so the benefit can be passed on to the customer,” he said.

At present, Covid-19 vaccination is available only for those above 45 years of age. However, with concerns over possible side-effects, many citizens have been worried about taking the jab.

Banking expert V Viswanathan observed that apparently there is no bar on giving incentive to a customer who has been vaccinated. But, then, customers below 45, who are currently not eligible for being vaccinated and hence not getting the extra interest rate or other discounts, can complain that they are being discriminated against.

CSR initiative

Viswanathan said, “It would be ideal for the bank to create a fund for ‘promoting vaccination’ and reimburse its customers in their SB accounts, say ₹100 or ₹150, out of the total amount incurred by them (for the vaccination).

“This will be part of CSR and since it is a reimbursement, no questions will be raised by the regulator or other customers.”

Another banker said, “While differential pricing makes sense for health insurance companies, for banks, such an incentive may not have too much of an impact as the number of citizens who have got the first or the second dose is very small as of now.”

Published on April 13, 2021

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