Editorial

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/11/2019 11:46:00 AM IST

 While the government’s desire to transform India through digitalisation or a cashless economy since November 2016 is laudable; yet it comes with a heavy price after the government introduced several restrictions and charges on bank transactions. The dream may seem nice but not for those who have discovered to their dismay that they are being made to pay for the dream. While fraudsters who have siphoned off huge amount of bank loans are still at large and enjoying life in other countries; the poor bank customers are fleeced under various charges of the bank. Even those dutifully responding to the banks to “give some deposit” find they are also being punished with income tax on interest earned. The harassed bank customers cannot ignore the fact that Banks in India have earned at least Rs 10,391.43 crore by charging them for just two things--failure to maintain minimum balance in saving accounts and carrying out more than the permitted number of free ATM transactions in a month. After people were compelled to transact through banks, they discovered that for internet banking of up to Rs.10,000 they had to pay Rs 1 plus 18% GST and additional bank transaction charges of Rs 2.50 plus 18% GST. Again for transaction of more than Rs.2 lakh, customers were Rs 5 plus 18% GST and the bank transaction charges of Rs 25 plus 18% GST and so on and so forth. It seems that everything to do with banks these days means having to pay for their services. Even on Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), customers could transfer funds on a 24x7 and 365 days of the year but they cannot transfer more than Rs.2 lakh. This facility is only available via Internet banking. As consumerism grows so also use of credit and debit cards. On these too, the bank levies various charges. With the new RBI notification banks are allowed to charge customers for more than 5 usages of ATMs in a month. The charges can vary from Rs 8 to 20 depending on the type of transaction. Banks charge around Rs 15 per quarter for SMS alerts. On a debit card, there are usually two types of charges. One is the annual fees that a bank charges for issuing the card to the customer. Two, is the convenience fees that is charged at the merchant outlets for swiping the card at a point-of-sale terminal. Any customer is entitled to eight free monthly transactions at an ATM (five at his home bank ATMs and three at non- home bank ATMs) in a metro city. For every transaction, a bank charges Rs 20 per financial transaction and Rs 8.5 for non-financial transactions. The annual fee for debit card varies from Rs 100 to 500 depending on the card. Banks also charge in case you request add on cards for family members. Other charges include annual ATM maintenance fee, fee for RTGS, fee for NTFS, free SMS alert, internet banking fee, among others. Here too, there is no fixed rate for these charges, and they vary from one bank to another. Therefore, the question is with a majority of public sector banks running in loss due to piles of non-performing assets (NPA) accumulated over years, are banks trying to find a way out to at least meet their operational costs by charging ordinary customers?

 

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