According to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notification, you can check your account balance and withdraw cash from another bank"s ATM free of cost only five times in a month, effective from July 1.
Earlier, RBI rules stated that an individual can withdraw cash five times from another bank"s ATM, while the users can inquire balance on their account unlimited number of times.
Now you need to ensure that your total number of transactions at the ATM of other banks" do not exceed five, in a month. If the number of transactions goes above five, you will be charged Rs 9 for every balance enquiry and Rs 20 for every cash withdrawal. The number of transactions may include pin change and mini statement in future.
You should also note that the limit of five includes multiple transactions during a single visit. So if in one visit you check your balance once and then do cash withdrawal, it will be considered as two transactions and then, you will be left with only three transactions for a month.
However, you can use your bank ATM as many times you want.
Although RBI has not provided any rationale for changing the rule but it should not come as a surprise. Each time you check your balance at other Banks" ATM, it costs your bank. Just because the banks are providing this free facility to customers on the regulators directive, it should be used judiciously.
To avoid any fraudulent use of bank accounts, the RBI have also been asked the banks to provide SMS and email alerts to the customers for every transaction. Earlier the practice was to send alerts for only select transactions beyond a certain amount.