A savings account is generally a launch pad for one to start managing his/her own finances. To promote and empower woman financially, various banks have come up with savings accounts catering to the needs of women who wish to take the first step into managing their own finances. Blossom Women Savings Account rolled out by Suryoday Small Finance Bank recently is one such product. Here’s more about its features, suitability, and comparison with similar offerings.

What it offers

Blossom Women Savings Account requires you to deposit minimum ₹10,000 upfront while opening it. The account requires a minimum average monthly balance (AMB) of ₹10,000 failing which you would bear penalty charges. If in a month you have maintained balance less than 50 per cent of the requirement i.e. ₹5,000, you would be charged ₹750 while if the same is ₹500 balance maintained is between 50 to less than 100 per cent.

The account provides interest rate ranging from 3.75 per cent to 7 per cent, which varies as per the AMB.

RuPay Classic EMV Chip Women Debit Card (default card) issued with the account allows ATM withdrawal limit of ₹40,000 and POS (Point of Sale) transaction limit of ₹60,000 on a per-day basis. One can use the card at other bank ATMs for free up to 20 transactions per month. The debit card comes with various offers on shopping and entertainment. Charges for each financial transaction beyond free limit are around ₹20 while that for non-financial transactions is about ₹10.

Here, one can get preferential interest rate and discount on processing fees on two-wheeler loan. However, the rate varies on case-to-case basis and the offer is for limited time and in a few cities only. Further, you can get personal accidental death insurance/Permanent Total Disablement cover of ₹2 lakh. Also, one can open a zero balance requirement complimentary savings account (Aditya variant). Other facilities such as net banking and mobile banking are provided here as with any other bank account.

What other banks offer

A host of banks offer women savings account, some of them being ICICI Bank Advantage Woman Savings Account, HDFC Bank Women Savings Account and Axis Women Savings Account. These too have minimum AMB of ₹10,000-₹12,000 while banks such as ICICI give an option of recurring deposit of ₹2,000 too instead of AMB. Non-maintenance charges in HDFC Bank range from ₹150 to ₹600 depending on the balance while the same for others is lower of 6-7.5 per cent of shortfall or ₹500-600. These banks provide interest rate ranging 3-3.5 per cent on the average balance.

These banks provide default debit cards with daily ATM withdrawal limit ranging ₹40,000-1 lakh while that of POS transactions range ₹1 lakh-2.75 lakh. ICICI Bank provides unlimited free ATM transactions. For other banks, on a monthly basis, any number of non-financial transactions on ATM of respective banks attract no charges while about five financial transactions on ATMs of respective banks are free and total 3-5 transactions are free on ATMs of other banks. Charges for each financial transaction beyond free limit and that for non-financial transactions at other banks’ ATMs are same as that in Blossom account.

These accounts too provide women with health-related insurance cover. For instance, HDFC Bank provides accidental death cover of up to ₹15 lakh (including ₹5 lakh on debit card) and hospitalisation cover up to ₹1 lakh while Axis Bank provides personal accidental cover up to ₹2 lakh.

Women savings accounts with HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank provide automatic sweep out facility, available on request. Here, as per the instructions, the surplus amount in your savings account can automatically be transferred to the Fixed Deposit periodically which enables you to earn higher interest. Such facility doesn’t seem to be available in Blossom.

These banks too offer preferential rate on two-wheeler loans. HDFC Bank provides a concession of about 3.5 per cent here and up to 50 per cent discount on processing fees.

How it compares with regular savings accounts

Generally like woman savings accounts, regular savings accounts also come with similar average monthly balance requirement. However, a few accounts, like Kotak 811, have zero balance requirement. In most cases, both regular and women savings accounts seem to have similar interest rates bank-wise.

Most women savings accounts can provide you with heatlh insurance while the same can vary bank-wise in case of regular savings accounts. However, certain premium savings accounts cover more diseases and provide higher coverage than under women savings accounts where AMB is higher. Certain accounts can provide you with free health check-up facilities, which regular savings accounts generally don’t. Further, various women savings accounts come with doorstep banking services, which might not be available with all regular savings accounts. However, there are charges attached to these services.

There are certain facilities such as auto-sweep, preferential loan rates, and one-year locker discounts where women savings account scores over regular savings accounts. However, in some cases such as HDFC Bank, using HDFC Millenia Debit Card obtained on its regular savings account, one can get higher limit on ATM withdrawals and POS transactions than on Easyshop Woman’s Advantage Debit Card of HDFC’s women savings account.

Ultimately different variants of savings accounts come with different benefits. Women should select savings account based on their own financial needs, understanding the terms and conditions for each account.

Operational aspects

Woman above the age of 18 years can open women savings account. Here, joint account can also be opened but first holder should be a woman only. To open women savings account online, you need to submit two passport-size photographs, address and ID proof such as passport, Aadhaar number and PAN. If mailing and permanent addresses are different , you need to provide address proof documents for both.