A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice P S Teji of Delhi High Court questioned RBI on its decision to levy a charge on more than five ATM transactions per month by a customer even when he is an account holder in the bank. High Court while issuing notice in this regard to RBI, Indian Banks’ Association and SBI remarked “you are unnecessarily taxing account holders.”
Earlier, Reserve Bank of India has decided to back banks’ move to charge for ATM transactions beyond a threshold limit despite protests by consumer organisations and depositors. As per Reserve Bank’s new guidelines, bank customers in six metros– Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore– are allowed to withdraw money and/or carry out non-financial transactions like mini-statements at ATMs of banks, where they hold saving/current accounts, free of charge only five times a month. Besides, the number of free transactions at ATMs of non-home banks has been cut to three times a month from five times.
Reserve Bank in its notification said that, “taking into account the high density of ATMs, bank branches and alternate modes of payment available to customers, the number of mandatory free ATM transactions for savings bank account customers at other banks? ATMs are reduced from the present 5 to 3 transactions per month (inclusive of both financial and non-financial transactions).”
The RBI, however, clarified that nothing precludes a bank from offering more than three free transactions at other bank ATMs to its account holders if it so desires. The cap in the number of free ATM transactions will not apply on small/no-frills or basic savings bank deposit account holders who will continue to enjoy five free transactions. At places other than the six metro centres, the facility of five free transactions for savings bank account customers will remain unchanged upon using other bank ATMs.