SBI clarifies on transaction charges in zero-balance accounts

SBI has recently released a clarification on the recent media reports based on the outcome of a study. A study by IIT Bombay has claimed that SBI and several other banks in the country have been imposing excessive charges on certain services which are provided to those with zero-balance accounts or Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts (BSBDA). SBI collected over Rs. 300 crore by levying service charges during the period 2015-20, the study claimed.

“Accordingly, SBI introduced charges for debit transactions beyond four free transactions in BSBD accounts w.e.f 15.06.2016 with prior intimation to the customers,” SBI clarified.

During August 2020, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) advised banks to refund the charges collected, if any, on or after 01.01.2020 on transactions carried out using the digital mode and not to impose charges on future transactions carried out through such modes.

Following the directives, SBI has refunded the charges recovered in respect of all the digital transactions to the BSBD customers w.e.f. 01.01.2020 to 14.09.2020. “SBI has stopped recovering charges in such accounts on all digital transactions w.e.f. 15.09.2020, while retaining charges on cash withdrawals over and above four free withdrawals allowed per month,” the bank stated.

“SBI has been determinedly working towards offering a convenient banking experience to all its diverse range of customers. Bank has also waived fees levied on SMS services and on maintenance of monthly average balance to all its Savings Bank account holders while promoting financial inclusion in the country in a big way,” SBI added in the statement.

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