If you use automated teller machines (ATMs) for small and frequent transactions, get ready to pay charges - even at the machines of your home bank. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday said banks were free to charge their customers for ATM transactions beyond five a month, though a board-approved policy on this issue would have to be put in place.
So far, a customer had to pay up to Rs 20 for every transaction beyond five at non-home-bank ATMs per month. These transactions mean both financial and non-financial - balance enquiry, change of PIN, mini statement, etc. The cap on per-use fee has been maintained at Rs 20 but the number of free transactions at machines of other banks has been lowered to three.
"Taking into account the high density of ATMs, bank branches and alternative modes of payment available to customers, the number of mandatory free ATM transactions for savings bank account customers at other banks' ATMs is reduced from the present five to three transactions per month (inclusive of financial and non-financial transactions)," RBI said in a circular. These new restrictions would apply only to transactions in the six metro cities of Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
And banks could still choose to offer more than five free transactions, if they so wished.
These changed rules will take effect from November 1 and banks have been advised to ensure these are effectively communicated to customers.
Banks, in association with the National Payments Corporation of India, had earlier sent a proposal to the banking regulator to reduce the number of free transactions at non-home ATMs. They had also sought to be allowed to charge consumers for use of own-bank ATMs.